Georgia state champ voluntarily rejects preseason scrimmages

Cameron Smith

Preseason scrimmages are a near essential part of high school football life around the country. That's certainly the case in Georgia, where one Atlanta Journal-Constitution writer counted up only 10 programs statewide which would go without a scrimmage before opening the 2011 regular season.

Brookwood varsity football team

Yet, one of those 10 programs is also the state's most conspicuous: Reigning Class AAAAA state champion Snellville (Ga.) Brookwood High, which will begin defense of its state title on August 20 against Lassiter (Ga.) High in the annual Corky Kell Kickoff Classic at Atlanta's Georgia Dome.

Considering the fact that Brookwood also failed to hold a scrimmage before it's 14-1 2010 season, a campaign which culminated in the school's first state title in 14 years and a No. 43 ranking in the final RivalsHigh 100, head coach Mark Crews doesn't have to work hard to defend his aversion to scrimmages.

Not surprisingly, Crews said a big factor in pushing his program away from scrimmages is the risk of injury less than two weeks before the regular season begins.

"I'd rather be working toward preparing for our opponent in the Dome rather than preparing for a scrimmage," Crews told the Journal-Constitution and Georgia High School Football Daily. "Also, we would be one week out from game time, and I would really worry that someone, a key player, may be injured in a full-tilt scrimmage and miss the beginning of the real season."

Yet, that logic isn't stopping Brookwood's first opponent, Lassiter, from hosting a preseason scrimmage of its own, with the Trojans scheduled to play against Flowery Branch (Ga.) High on Friday.

That's perfectly fine with Crews, who will continue to focus on developing his reigning champions his own way (and doing so with a special emphasis on students' safety), all while eschewing one of the most traditional preparatory tools in a coach's repertoire.

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