The 2018 Putnam County War Eagles football team took the field for the first time Friday.
Putnam held its Blue-White scrimmage game last week during which the community got to see this year’s incarnation of the War Eagles for the first time. The Eagles split into two different teams for the scrimmage and competed against each other, completing both offensive and defensive drives as well as going over special teams and other aspects of the game.
“We’ve got a lot of guys who have never played on Friday night,” Putnam head coach Shaun Pope said. “I was looking for one thing: great effort. I thought these kids did an awesome job and the effort was great. I’m excited about the season.”
Rather than playing a full game, the two teams took turns running offensive and defensive plays against each other. The scrimmage began with the starting offense taking the field against the second-string defense and almost immediately finding success, scoring on the first two plays of the eight-play session.
“We’re really happy with how they competed,” offensive coordinator Nick Hayes said. “We had some sustained drives and some quick-hitters for scores but, overall, we just really wanted to get all of the nuances and small things out of the way. We wanted to shake off some of the rust and get into a live atmosphere under the lights.”
Hayes said that both his quarterbacks, Ethan Crouch and Cedrion Brundage, had very good nights under center during the scrimmage. Following the first offensive period, the Blue and White teams joined together to practice a punt formation.
The War Eagles practiced special teams between each offensive and defensive period throughout the evening.
Putnam’s defense then went against the second offense. The Eagles’ defense had a strong performance throughout the scrimmage, not allowing an offensive score all night.
“The effort and energy was amazing,” defensive coordinator Derrick Arrington said. “And the camaraderie is bringing them together. The football part will take care of itself. We’re glad the community came out tonight.”
After a punt return session, the Putnam offense and defense each got another series, this time placing them near one end of the field in order to practice red zone offense and defense. Crouch was quick on his feet and picked up several strong runs while Marcus Jefferson had a rushing touchdown, and Kaden Corbitt caught two in the end zone.
Both the second-string offense and defense played a series against each other before the starting offense and the starting defense had an opportunity to play. Senior outside linebacker Raymond Lee had a sack and recovered a fumble as the War Eagles’ defense ultimately prevented the offense from scoring.
Although Pope was excited by the effort and energy the team showed during the scrimmage, he said that there is still work to be done.
“We’ve got stuff to clean up,” Pope said. “It starts with me with some organizational stuff. Offense, defense and specials teams need to improve all around, but every coach and every player gave a great effort [Friday]. We’re going to get better and grow.”
Putnam will travel to Lamar County on Friday for a three-team scrimmage with Lamar and Manchester High School. The three teams will play two quarters against each other in a round robin-style match.
Putnam County’s first game of the regular season will be against North Oconee on Aug. 17 at Al Reaves Field in Eatonton.