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PREP FOOTBALL: Enthusiasm surrounds Redskins heading into 2021-22 season
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Social Circle head coach Rob Patton could take a sizable step forward in his second season with the Redskins. - Mason Wittner | The Covington News

SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. — Year two of the Rob Patton era at Social Circle High School is already filled with plenty of enthusiasm.

It can be sensed among the fans, the players, the community, the school and the coaches as the Redskins look to the upcoming 2021 season. A trip to the state playoffs last fall has only made the program hungry for more gridiron success.

“We had a strong spring practice,” Patton said. “We didn’t get everyone back until the last week. Our baseball and track athletes joined when their seasons were complete. We do have several returning players. The biggest thing for us is that our strength is so much better than a year ago. Not have a six-month break due to COVID has helped in that area.”

The Redskins completed their spring session with a scrimmage against Loganville Christian Academy. Social Circle set the tone for the evening early.

“We had a big hit on the first play,” Patton said. “It was a harder hit than any we had all last season.”

That early play set the tone for the scrimmage.

“We had plenty of energy on the sidelines and our defense was swarming to the football,” Patton said. “Our offense was lights out moving the ball. We did a great job of catching the football and putting points on the scoreboard.”

While the scrimmage did not involve special teams play, the Social Circle coach said he doesn’t think that took away from his team’s effort and performance.

Amarion Russell will be a key player in the offensive backfield. He missed some time in 2020 due to injury but still rushed for more than 300 yards with five touchdowns. Russell made a positive impact in the spring scrimmage.

Quarterback Logan Cross returns after throwing for 2, 081 yards and 19 touchdowns as a sophomore. Cross completed approximately 200 passes a season ago.

“Logan is very impressive,” his coach said. “He was tremendous all spring.”

One plus for the program, Patton believes, is the return of the entire coaching staff. That includes all varsity and middle school coaches.

The varsity program did add Bean Reaves to the staff. Reaves is a former Social Circle head coach and has stints directing other programs as well including Newton High School and Putnam County. He will be the offensive line coach.

Reaves’ son, Caleb, coached the running backs and secondary last season at Social Circle. Caleb will handle the special teams duties in 2021.

“It is huge to have everyone back,” Patton said. “We can continue with the same message. Everyone is on the same page and knows what we want for the kids.”

Currently, Social Circle is working on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Following workouts on Wednesdays the team hosts local teams to work on their passing games. The Redskins will also participate in some 7-on-7 events.

“Right now, the biggest thing is continuing to work in the weight room,” Patton said. “We want to establish a strong work ethic and toughness. We feel good about having our offensive and defensive systems in place.”

Social Circle compiled a 5-6 record last fall, advancing to the first round of the state playoffs.