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Eastside Eagles, Social Circle Redskins football take part in offseason padded camp
EHS/SC Padded Camp 2024
A pair of Redskins players making a tackle on the Eastside ballcarrier at a padded camp featuring the Eagles, Redskins, Greene County and Walnut Grove on Monday, June 17 and Tuesday, June 18. - photo by Garrett Pitts

The Eastside Eagles and Social Circle Redskins’ football programs took part in a padded camp hosted by the Redskins on Monday, June 17 and Tuesday, June 18.

The two teams took the field along with the Greene County Tigers and Walnut Grove Warriors. During the 2023 offseason, the same four teams met up for a similar camp at Social Circle.

For Redskins’ head coach Rob Patton, a big part of the camp was his team’s chance to play and hit someone else for a change.

“It’s huge, being able to compete,” Patton said. “Whether it is in the 7-on-7 tournaments against other teams, it is definitely different. Especially a school like us with our size, it is hard to be real competitive going best-on-best, because it ends up being very young kids versus old kids. Us having our best out there together competing against either team is huge for us.”

Eastside head coach Jay Cawthon shared the same sentiment. 

Getting involved with other teams in the offseason is something his players look forward to, according to the four-year head coach.

“We get tired of it, just as every other high school team,” Cawthon said. “We have one more padded camp at Morgan County in July. Our kids get excited for that. Right now, it is the dog days of summer — it is the grind. Our kids our fighting.”

For the Redskins, many new faces took reps for Patton during the two days.

Although the expected Social Circle starting running back, Jameccus Hardge, did not practice, Patton got the chance to see what the other players in the room could do.

By the end of Tuesday, Patton was pleased with the production from the backfield.

“The big ones for us were our running backs today,” Patton said. “Deven Usand, who is a rising sophomore, made some good runs and he runs extremely tough. Jaylen Victor, he has been a starting corner for us the past two years and now he is having to take over that role at running back and he made some really good plays, too.”

EHS/Sc Padded Camp 2024
- photo by Garrett Pitts

Playing against teams that have a bit more size, Patton was happy with the way his team battled, particularly against the Eagles.

“We just got to continue to learn basic football and continue to grow together as a team,” Patton said. “We made some great individual plays across the board. We played a lot better this morning against Eastside — they have a talented squad and can kind of out-man us a bit. To see us play a lot harder against them this morning was really encouraging.”

In their first action in pads in a few weeks, Cawthon shared his thoughts about his team’s performance and what he thought of their efforts over the two days.

“We were just there to get reps and get better,” Cawthon said. “[It was] the first time being in pads since spring. I thought our kids did well in the elements — in the heat. It is just going there and bonding a bit, I thought they did well.”

When pointing out individuals who shined the most, Cawthon shed light on one of his running backs, too.

“J Barr,” Cawthon said. ‘I think he is one of the most electrifying players in the state of Georgia.”

EHS/SC Football Padded Camp 2024
- photo by Garrett Pitts

Jayden Barr is a two-player for the Eagles who is expected to play meaningful downs at running back and defensive back, but the Georgia Tech commit will be the feature back on a team that has leaned on the run game in recent seasons.

Outside of the skill position players, Cawthon took time to discuss his linemen.

“I thought our young d-line did well. Decorey Crumbley [and] Xavier Joseph, they are always going at 100 miles per hour,” Cawthon said. “They are being leaders up there. On the offensive line, there was Carlton Belgrave being a leader. We were missing a couple guys, but all-in-all I think we did really well.”