This summer, the Jackets are doing everything they can to get a head start on getting there again.
Coming off a state championship in 2011 and a solid several days of spring practice about a month ago, Calhoun started their summer workout program recently, and head coach Hal Lamb said he’s like what he’s seen so far.
“The kids know that our summer program is a big part of what we do,” said Lamb. “Right now, they’re doing everything we ask of them so it’s been a good start to the summer.
“The kids know they need to be here. If they’re not, they’ll be behind once practice starts.”
The Jackets are meeting twice a week right now, Mondays and Thursdays, to go through close to a two-hour workout each day. The team has been divided into three groups by class with each coming at a certain time from 8-11:30 a.m. Lamb said he can see the championship last year is having a positive effect on numbers as well as effort.
The Jackets completed spring practice in mid-May with the largest group of players Lamb said he has ever had.
“This is the first time since I’ve been here that we’ve had to divide into three groups,” said Lamb. “This is the most kids we’ve had, and so far the participation has been really good.
“I think one of the reasons for having more kids out is because of winning a championship. And these kids are working extremely hard. I can definitely see a little different attitude at workouts.”
One of the biggest reasons for summer workouts is to get the players ready to go out and start preseason practice in the summer heat.
“We definitely want them to get acclimated and be in decent shape for the August heat,” said Lamb. “We’re implementing weights with some speed and agility work to get them in shape and trying to gain some strength, speed and agility at the same time.”
The Calhoun program got another jolt of excitement a few weeks ago when news came out about a production company possibly following the team this upcoming season for a documentary. Boardwalk Entertainment Group’s writer/producers Gary Randall and Brad Bogart were in town with several videographers from TNT to begin a series of interviews and staging for a documentary that centers around the students, teachers, coaches and Calhoun community with a big emphasis on the Yellow Jackets football team.
“Right now, we’re about a 95 percent that it’s going to happen,” said Lamb. “They spent about three days here to do some interviews, and now they’re in the process of getting it to TNT for the final word.
“We’re obviously excited about it. Anytime you can promote your team and community, it’s a great thing. This community deserves it because they’ve been a big part of our success here.”
While they wait to hear if the documentary will become a reality, the Jackets will continue to get their work in this summer, and Lamb said he’s hoping to see some guys step up as leaders.
“I know that’s something that will come with time,” said Lamb. “We’ve got some guys that are trying to be leaders now, but it’s a tough thing to do because they have to get out of their comfort zone a little and speak up. We’re working on getting them to do that.”
The Jackets will begin fall practice in early August and open the regular season on Aug. 31 at home against Ridgeland.
Not only will the Jackets be defending their Class AA state title, but will also be trying to win their 12th straight region title as they take aim at their Region 7-AA schedule.