PCMS students “commit” to varsity team

Putnam County Middle School’s eighth grade football players signed a “letter of intent” last Thursday, committing to the PCHS varsity program led by new head coach Shaun Pope. The upcoming freshmen include, back row, from left, Kevin Molina, Zac Mitchell, Bobby Lewis, Cedrion Brundage, Andrew Babb, Keyontay Card, Jake Burgess, Quinn Pitts, Joshua Rollack, Chase Lupton, Dre’Lyn Lockhart and Tyjara Miller, and front row, same order, Jamarcus Evans, Demetrio Portillo, Breshiya Farley, Khaliz Evans, Joshua Glenn and Montavious McClendon. 

PHOTO: Brandon Bush

By Brandon Bush 



Putnam County High School will soon receive a new generation of football talent.

Putnam County Middle School held “Signing Day 2018” on Thursday morning in which all current eighth-graders made their commitments to Putnam County High School’s varsity football team.

Based on college football’s National Signing Day, incoming freshmen in good academic and athletic standing who completed the 2017 season with the middle school team signed a “letter of intent” to play for the high school and committed to the program’s expectations for its players.

New Putnam head coach Shaun Pope began the ceremony by thanking all those present for his position and briefly touched on his coaching philosophy of building men first and football players second.

“I want to teach these young men not to go through the same situations some of us have,” Pope told the eighth-graders and families present. “Building the young man is the most important thing to me. Football will take care of itself if we do that first.”

Pope went on to list a few of his expectations for the new blood, including his players being “early, not on time” and showing respect to themselves and to others. He also emphasized that his main job is to use football to make sure his players succeed in life.

“I used to think just coaching football was my purpose,” Pope said. “But helping young men develop into better young men is my ultimate purpose. Football is just a small part of it. Having said that, football is very important to me. It’s one of the best games in the world to teach young people how to fight through adversity when times are tough.”

Pope then turned it over to school counselor Shanqueetay Easley, who built on Pope’s philosophy of preparing kids to succeed by discussing graduation and GPA requirements for Putnam County students and offering her services to ensure all of the new War Eagles succeed academically.

“Teaching them how to be responsible adults during high school is very important,” Easley said. “But, overall, it’s their responsibility to be successful at that level, so we want to prepare them for that.”

Pope also recognized Putnam middle school head coach Grayson Huskins, who said the most important thing the eighth-graders on the middle school team learned the previous year was to play as a single unit. He also spoke about encouraging upcoming high school players to not wait until their upperclassmen years to play varsity, an issue that often costs Putnam quality players.

Finally, the main event of the ceremony took place as each “recruit” took their place at the signing table, adding their signature to their “letters of intent” and placing one of several Putnam County hats on their heads before taking a picture with their families and friends.

Although they only committed to the varsity team, the event could possibly foreshadow that some of these student-athletes may one day sign a real letter of intent if they buy into Pope’s vision for them and for the team.

With the school year drawing to a close, the War Eagles’ summer practices and workouts will surely begin soon. Putnam County takes the field in its first contest against North Oconee on Aug. 17.

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