The 2012 football season is so close you can practically hear the cheers and whistles coming from Sharp Stadium.
As a matter of fact, there will be the sounds of the gridiron this weekend as Alcovy hosts Dunwoody tonight and Newton hosts Southwest DeKalb Saturday; both games start at 7:30 p.m. Eastside travels to Heritage today for a 7:30 p.m. preseason showdown.
In preparation for the upcoming season coaches have not only been talking with their players about what lies ahead but also reaching out to the community.
Alcovy coach Kirk Hoffman made an appearance at the Covington Kiwanis Club meeting on Thursday, telling the group of service club members about the Tigers' upcoming season and how things have changed since the first time he stood before them six years ago. That was when Hoffman was set to become Alcovy's first ever football, coach and he's been the only one since.
"As a program we're no longer a new school," Hoffman said. "I said it would take five or six years to become a successful program and we feel like we've succeeded in that. We have made the state playoffs in two of the last three years."
He told the group gathered at the fellowship hall of First United Methodist Church that since the Alcovy program has started, several athletes have gone on to college and some have already graduated.
Hoffman praised new collegiate student in 2012's star running back Devon Edwards.
"Last year the young man was All-State in football and basketball; that young man had an outstanding year and ended up at Duke," Hoffman said. "I talked with him last week and he told me he had a 96 in his first summer class."
Hoffman highlighted Edwards' and Alcovy's season last year, noting how they tied for subregion championship and brought Alcovy's first home playoff game to Sharp Stadium.
This year the Tigers will compete in Region 2-AAAAAA, their sixth region in six years of existence.
The new region and upcoming schedule will allow for new non-region rivalry games that Alcovy's previous 14-team region schedule did not allow.
"We're excited, we now get a shot at major rival games this upcoming season with Eastside, Newton, Rockdale and Jackson," Hoffman said.
In a brief description of this year's squad Hoffman described his problem of luxury in having three quarterbacks who all look able to compete for playing time.
Returning starter and All-Region signal caller Cornell White is competing against Marcus Williams, who started three games a year ago, and out-of-state transfer Christian Whigman.
"We'll have a pretty good race back there," Hoffman said. "And the loser will go to running back, because he'll be a pretty good athlete."
No matter who is at quarterback, they'll be playing behind an experienced offensive line with four out of five starters returning. While there is veteran stability on the offensive line, Hoffman said that's not the case in the secondary, where among others Edwards will no longer be patrolling the field.
Hoffman did say practices were going well and Alcovy is handling the new Georgia High School Association rules and regulations concerning heat and concussions.
He also detailed his leadership goals in response to a Kiwanis club member's question as to why he got into coaching.
"We have lost sight; it's all about the safety of the kid and raising a young adult who can be successful at the age of 25," Hoffman said. "If I can do that wins will take care of themsevles. Wins are a byproduct, and in our program I feel like we've done that."
Alcovy will look for its first official win of the 2012 season against Jones County Thursday, Aug. 30.
Eastside's football coach, Rick Hurst will appear at Kiwanis Thursday, followed by Cortez Allen of Newton on Aug. 30.