With less than three weeks until high school football kicks off, 13WMAZ Sports is previewing teams from around central Georgia.
Earlier, we told you about the new beginnings at Mount de Sales Academy. The Cavaliers start this season with first-year head coach Keith Hatcher, and are joining a new level of competition in the GHSA.
Stratford Academy is also jumping from GISA to GHSA competition. Head coach Mark Farriba returned to the school last season after a stint at Prince Avenue Christian, in Athens, Ga.
In his first season back with Stratford, the Eagles made it to the state championship, and lost to Westfield Academy. While it hurt in December, the loss doesn't matter now.
"All of our thoughts and focus are on today," Farriba said. "We certainly appreciate what the players did last year. We're proud of what they did last year, but this is a totally different team, a totally different year. We're starting over."
That new team is starting over with a new brand of competition in the GHSA.
Stratford will join up with region 7A, and play teams they haven't seen much of in the past.
The teams may be changing, but Farriba's message is staying the same.
"We all know what's going on, but practice is practice," Farriba said. "Preparation is preparation. If you're going to prepare one way for somebody, and one way for somebody else, you're not doing a very good job."
The Eagles open with Savannah Country Day on August 29th, and the last six teams on the schedule are all from central Georgia. First Presbyterian Day School joined the GHSA in 2010, so Stratford will have another Macon rivalry added to their usual match-ups with Tattnall and Mount de Sales.
Here's Stratford's full 2014 football schedule:
8/29 Savannah Country Day
9/19 @ Aquinas
9/26 Georgia Military College
10/3 @ First Presbyterian
10/10 @ Tattnall Square Academy
10/17 @ Twiggs County
10/24 Mount de Sales Academy
10/31 Wilkinson County
11/07 Region 7/1A Play-in
Check back with us in the days leading up to kickoff as we take a look at schools around central Georgia.
Follow 13WMAZ's Wes Blankenship on Twitter: @Wes_nship