(Carrollton, GA) – Eight months following the it’s official launch at a December press conference in Waco, the West Georgia Tech football program is set to hold its first public scrimmage this Saturday, at 8 p.m. at the Mt. Zion High School football field in Mt. Zion, Ga.
Gates open at 6 p.m. and admission is free. The first official football game for the Golden Knights is still a year away – in the fall of 2014.
This fall West Georgia Tech will play a number of intra-squad scrimmages in what the school is calling “showcase games” in local communities, starting with Saturday’s tilt at Mt. Zion. At least four other showcase games will be held over the next few months, including a September 14th game in LaGrange.
The third scrimmage is set for September 28 when WGTC will celebrate its Homecoming at Heard County. Heard County’s Staples Stadium is where the Golden Knights will play its home games when play officially starts next year.
“We want to invite the local football fan-bases to come out to our showcase games,” WGTC football coach and athletic director Walter Dunson said. “We have a lot of talented student-athletes on this team, many of them from the local area, and I know that the public will be excited to see the brand of football that we play. This is a prime area for football. There is nothing like high school football in west Georgia.”
Of all of the different position groups on initial crop of incoming freshmen and first-year players, Dunson said that the running backs have the most talent, top-to-bottom.
“We have four legitimate D-1 running backs,” Dunson said. “We have to figure out how to share the football between those guys, because they are all very, very good.”
Dunson also lauded his quarterbacks for they have learned the system. On defense, the linebackers have looked exceptionally strong in the early-going. “Our linebackers are very athletic, and they have all played ‘nose-to-the-ball’,” Dunson said.
With more 105 student-athletes on the roster heading into the fall, the addition of a football program has made an immediate impact, just in numbers alone. But there are other considerations that are in play, which will have positive effects going forward, according to West Georgia Tech president Dr. Skip Sullivan.
“When we made the decision to add our football program we considered a number of factors,” Sullivan said. “Ultimately we recognized that we have a great opportunity to help a significant number of potential student-athletes by enrolling them in our college and preparing them for the next level – both in the workforce and on the football field. By becoming only the second junior college D-1 program in Georgia, we have already seen the impact that we can have for our local community, for our region and for our state. I want to make clear that our number one priority at West Georgia Tech is to improve the lives of our students. I know that we have already begun to do that with our football program, and I am proud of that.”
WGTC head coach and athletic director Walter Dunson (Photos courtesy WGTC SID)
“Our number one priority is to get our kids in class and to teach them the importance of working in the classroom so that they can get to work and provide for themselves and their families after they finish their player careers. That’s our top priority,” Dunson said.
Dunson said that Saturday’s scrimmage will serve as an evaluation period for him and his staff.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing how much they can apply what we have taught in the camps and workouts and actually use it in a game-situation,” he said. “We want to see how well they can execute, how well they can perform in some adverse situations.”
Dunson said he holds special fondness for the Mt. Zion community. Although he went on to become one of the most accomplished athletes in Central of Carroll High School before shattering football records at Middle Tennessee State University, it was at Mt. Zion where Dunson began his football playing career.
“That is where it all began, at Mt. Zion,” Dunson said. “The community of Mt. Zion has been very special to me, and I’m very happy that we can start this next chapter in WGTC football history there. That’s where I got my start individually, and that is where we will get our start as a program.”