Fuqua To Begin Delayed Football Season Friday Night
FARMVILLE – Fuqua School's season that almost never was will begin this Friday.
Two weeks after the Falcons were scheduled to take on Brunswick Academy, they will host Alliance Christian on Friday night at Gilmer Field (7 p.m., WVHL 92.9 FM).
Friday's game may resemble an intrasquad scrimmage. Alliance Christian's colors are red and gold. They are also nicknamed the Falcons.
Fuqua will be hosting a program in its first season of varsity competition. It will be their third game. Fuqua has a 50 year head start, but in 2012, the other Falcons will have a two game advantage.
“Considering how we started this fall, we're going along about as well as we could've hoped,” said FS head coach Lewis “Skeeter” Fore. “We got into this situation for a number of reasons. Honestly, I don't know what to expect [Friday night].
“I'm concerned that we haven't played a game. We haven't even scrimmaged. They've played two. They've had the opportunity to look at film and correct things. Things referees tend to let slide in the first week or two of the season will get called a lot tighter. They don't care about the hand we dealt ourselves, and they shouldn't.”
Low turnout at the start of fall practice put the 2012 season in jeopardy. Practice was suspended, and it wasn't until school began that the school was able to recruit enough boys to field a football team.
Fore says he should have 20 or 21 on the roster for Friday's game. Some have previous varsity experience, but others will be taking their first snaps.
“That's what we don't know about. But considering where they started, we're gradually improving. We can't do things to beat ourselves.”
Following the game, Fuqua will have an open week. A trip to Broadwater Academy was originally on the schedule for next Saturday, but when it looked like Fuqua was not going to have a team, Broadwater scheduled another team to fill what looked to be a likely void.
“You can't blame them,” said Fore. “At the time, we couldn't guarantee anything. Home football gates pay for so much.
“That will give us time to look at things and correct errors before our second game.”
One way to cut down on mistakes is to adhere to a simple game plan. Fuqua will play an unbalanced line, a conservative offense that was a trademark of a program that was once consistently one of the best schools in the state.
“We're going with what we know. I know people will look at the roster and see the athletes we have and wonder why we aren't playing in a spread and throwing the ball around. That sounds great if you can do it, but considering where we are as a team, we've got to come up with a way to shorten the game by controlling the ball.”
“If we have it and they don't, they can't score. That wasn't as important when we had Charles [Williams] back there, and he was a threat to score every time he touched the ball. We do have some athletes, but the question is do we have enough to feel comfortable when we get into an 'I score, you score' type of game.”
Antonio Gonzalez will move from receiver to quarterback, and will receive the majority of the snaps. Josh Davis and Al Baker, who transferred into the school, will handle most of the duties in the backfield. Matthew McKay will play at the fullback position. The line will be anchored by senior center Jacob Epps.
“The biggest thing is to make sure we eliminate the stupid things. If they listen to [Walter “Bozo” Addleman], we may be able to surprise some folks.
“To go from not having a team to having a team is pretty good. We'll make the best of it and appreciate the opportunity to play football.”
In a way one can come away with the sense that, Fore, who admits he's nearing the end of a long and storied coaching career, welcomes the challenge.
“I just want them to play to the best of their abilities. That's all they can do. We're not expecting them to work miracles. I want them to take pride in what they're doing.”
With everything that's happened, the late start and the inexperience on the roster, Fore has set some modest goals. The eight game schedule and the two lost games to begin the season will keep the Falcons from having hopes at postseason.
“Considering what we've gone through, I think .500 is a reasonable goal to set. It would be nice to be 5-3, but we may be lucky to win a couple.
“I see some potential. I see some potential in some of these kids that haven't played before. It's always a big 'if', but it's even bigger this year. If we can remain healthy, we can be okay. If not, it will be devastating.