Shane Stone stood at the future site of the Potts Camp High School football stadium on Thursday morning. He was checking out the grounds for the first Cardinals football program in his lifetime.
On the other side of the railroad tracks behind the high school, approximately 20 acres of land was donated to the Marshall County school. That land will eventually be the site of a football field, an eight-lane track, softball field, baseball field and a field house.
“That’s the plan now,” said Stone, who spent last school year as Oxford’s girls basketball coach. “When it comes to fruition, we’ll see.”
For now, Stone will be coaching nearly 30 middle school and high school underclassmen this fall as a brand new football program gets under way. His players, in grades 7 through 10, will play three junior high games and three junior varsity games this season.
East Union, Ingomar, Myrtle and West Union will be starting a cooperative program similar to Potts Camp’s this fall. But the four Union County schools will be joining forces, while Potts Camp will be standing alone.
“We’ll increase the number of games next year,” Stone said. “This year’s sophomores will play a full varsity schedule by their senior year.
“We’re just independent right now. When they (MHSAA) reclassify right now in two years, we’ll go wherever the state puts us.”
For a program that won’t play a full varsity schedule until 2011, Stone said an average of 25-30 guys showed up for voluntary workouts this summer.
“The number right now is pretty good,” Stone said of his players. “We’ll hope it gets a little more substantial.”
The players and coaches will meet on Tuesday, and Wednesday will be their first official practice of the fall.
“We’ll take it easy at first,” Stone said. “The first couple of days we’ll wear just helmets and shoulder pads.”
John Wilbert/NEMS Daily Journal