Horseshoe Bend football practice

Andy Anders / The Outlook Horseshoe Bend continued preparations for its season at practice Thursday, Aug. 5.

Aug. 2 marked the first day of fall training camp for high school football across the state of Alabama, and all five Tallapoosa county schools were out in force.

Benjamin Russell, Central Coosa, Dadeville, Horseshoe Bend and Reeltown transitioned from summer workouts and conditioning to implementation of their offensive and defensive schemes alongside a gradual ramp into full contact.

Shoulder pads came on during the week, allowing players to “thud” up on one another in some light contact. Friday marked the first day of full pads, and as a result full contact.

Benjamin Russell head coach Aubrey Blackwell was anxious for the start of that phase of camp, and much of it has to do with the need to get Benjamin Russell’s young defense up to speed. The Wildcats only return a few starters from 2020.

Huffman awaits Benjamin Russell in Week 1, a team that features Makhi Hughes at running back. Hughes holds offers from schools such as Florida State, Kansas, Western Kentucky and Yale.

Tackling will be of paramount importance.

“It’s gonna be 100 percent critical that when we hit that August 20th date, we’re tackling well,” Blackwell said. “When we get out there Friday for our first full contact practice, that’s gonna be the center of it. We’re gonna set the tone early of we’ve gotta tackle, we’ve gotta do it well and we’ve gotta do it often.”

Reeltown head football coach Matt Johnson was excited for full-contact practice as well. It fits into his design for the Rebels on both offense and defense.

“We want to be physical on both sides. We want to impose our will on both sides of the football,” Johnson said. “We’re not finesse or anything like that. On either side of the ball, we want to dictate the game and control the game.”

Dadeville football head coach Roger McDonald had last week circled for a long time.

His approach to summer varies from other area coaches, focusing on workouts and getting his team revved up for when the collisions can take place.

“I want them to be ready for football when actual football practice starts,” McDonald said July 8. “A lot of other people, they have a different philosophy, they do 7-on-7s and all that stuff during the summer. But I don’t. I want to be excited when it’s time to put that helmet on.”

The season opens for Tallapoosa County when Reeltown takes on rival Tallassee Thursday, Aug. 19. Dadeville plays a preseason jamboree game against Loachapoka Aug. 13.

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