By Kevin Eckleberry firstname.lastname@example.org
July 22, 2014
During their summer conditioning program, the LaGrange Grangers did a lot of familiar things, like weight-lifting and other traditional exercise regimens for football players.
It wasn’t all about the status quo, though.
New head coach Dialleo Burks wanted to shake things up a little bit, so he had the players participate in some unconventional activities during the summer.
“We worked out in the pool, we did some Zumba and everything,” Burks said. “I’m an old-school type of guy, but I also understand the new school. You have to mesh both worlds.”
Burks isn’t sure if it will make a difference when the season gets under way, but he believes the players have enjoyed the change of pace.
“We’ll see in a couple of weeks if it pays off,” Burks said. “The guys enjoyed it, and they worked hard. That’s all we ask from them.”
Burks said the summer program, which began the week after school ended in May, was extremely productive.
“The guys have been doing a lot, with a couple of seven-on-seven camps, and the college camps that they’ve gone to trying to get exposure,” Burks said. “They haven’t lost focus through all of that.”
NEW ADDITION: A familiar face will be on the LaGrange High coaching staff this season, although when he was in high school he wore the uniform of a different school.
Demetrius Goode, a former standout running back at Troup High, is the new running backs coach at LaGrange High.
After high school, Goode went on to play college football, and he was part of a national-championship team at the University of Alabama.
Burks is glad to have him.
“We’ve got some powerful backs he’ll help,” Burks said. “For him to have been on the level he was on, that speaks volume.”
HOPING TO REBOUND: The Grangers are coming off a losing season for the first time since 2000.
The Grangers went 2-8 in 1999, and they followed that up with an 11-1 season in 2000, beginning a stretch where they won at least 10 games for seven straight years while winning state titles in 2001, 2003 and 2004.
A year ago, the Grangers went 3-7 and finished below .500 for the first time since 1999.
Burks is tasked with getting the program back on track, and he knows what it takes to be a part of a winning team.
In 1991, Burks was on the LaGrange High team that won a state championship.
Burks said the goal of everyone is to have each player as prepared as possible to be successful on Friday nights.
“For every coach on the staff, every administrator, it’s about giving these kids what they need to be successful,” Burks said. “We’re all in this together.”
LONG-TIME COMING: During the 2002 and 2003 seasons, LaGrange and Callaway played twice.
Those were the only two times those two teams faced off, but that will change this season.
On Aug. 22, Callaway and LaGrange will open their seasons against each other.
Callaway will be looking to beat LaGrange for the first time.
In 2002, LaGrange beat Callaway 49-0.
It was more competitive in 2003, with LaGrange beating Callaway 27-6.
LaGrange will play both of its county foes this season.
On Aug. 29, LaGrange will resume its rivalry with Troup.