With the 2017 football season close, the Peachtree Academy Panthers are gearing up to start their season off in the win column. And the prescription, as far as the Peachtree coaching staff is concerned, is simple.
“We just work hard,” said Peachtree Academy head coach David Smith. “Our whole concept for football at Peachtree is ‘You play as a family, you practice as a family’.”
Smith is a six-year football coach who has been coaching for the Panthers for three years.
The Panthers have been practicing since the end of June, preparing to improve on their last season’s overall record of 10-3. Peachtree Academy belongs to Region GICAA (Georgia Independent Christian Athletic Association)-II (East). Where they play eight man football. Most of the schools from this region, including Peachtree Academy, are private schools, with teams comprised of students who are home schooled.
Last year’s season ended when the Panthers fell to Colonial Hills Christian 34-21 in the GICAA playoffs’ semi-final round.
Smith said he appreciates when private schools are highlighted for their achievements in sports.
During the summer as the Panthers prepared to make another run at a state championship, Smith held two-hour practices on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Smith fashioned the practice schedule with his athletes being able to live a balanced life in mind.
“A lot of our players are religious bound,” Smith said. “So we put a lot of emphasis on getting done with practice early on Wednesday so they can attend church.”
While the team lost four seniors last year, the team broke even when they gained five new freshman this new season.
Some players that will be in the starting lineup this year will be: Josh Cursey (Fullback), Hunter Payne (Tailback), Dakota Beckman (Quarterback), and Matt Mitchel (Receiver).
Peachtree Academy will travel to John Hancock for their season opener on August 18. The Panthers will also scrimmage against Vidalia Heritage Academy on August 12th.
Smith says that they are doing everything possible to get ready for their opponent.
“We probably do what everybody else does,” said Smith. “We watch film. (We do) the whole preparation. (We) scout the talent and we make phone calls. We hope to have a successful season this year also.”