This Friday, May 20 in Savannah, a pair of high school football spring games will be played and they each represent a first of their kind.
Savannah Country Day will play at Jenkins in the first ever football game hosted on the campus of Jenkins. The school has a brand-new turf practice field complete with lights, small bleacher sets for fans, and a track surrounding the playing field.
Savannah Christian hosts Windsor Forest at Pooler Stadium with kickoff set for 7 p.m. Kicking off 30 minutes before Country Day and Jenkins, this game will be the first spring game in recent memory matching up two different schools. Typically, spring games are conducted by one school, with players from the same team facing each other in a modified format.
Let’s take a look at each of these games and what you need to know going into kickoff Friday night.
WINDSOR FOREST at SAVANNAH CHRISTIAN
WHEN: 7 p.m.
WHERE: Pooler Stadium
WHO: Windsor Forest Knights (4-5 in 2021) vs. Savannah Christian Raiders (5-6)
WATCH: “SCPS Raiders”channel on YouTube
Two teams who finished one game under .500 in 2021 will do battle in an interesting spring game matchup at Pooler Stadium. The spring game will be streamed live (for free) on the SCPS Raiders YouTube channel for those not attending. Tickets to the game cost $7 and can be purchased at the gate or online ahead of time. Concessions will be available at Pooler Stadium.
SCPS head coach Baker Woodward says the game will be played as a normal football game except for special teams plays, which will be conducted but will not be “live.”
One storyline to monitor could be the two quarterback positions.
Rising senior Paulus Zittrauer should be the leading candidate for the starting quarterback job at SCPS after starting the first several games behind center last season before sustaining an injury in October.
For Windsor Forest, rising senior Donte Dorman is a candidate for the quarterback job after playing early last season before an injury to his collarbone forced him to miss the rest of his junior campaign. The former Bethesda transfer played for the Final Four WF basketball team this winter.
The Knights, who have roughly 80 players in the football program, will play in region 3-2A next season with the likes of Appling County, Brantley County, Pierce County, Tattnall County, Toombs County and Vidalia.
Savannah Christian has 56 players in the program, according to Woodward. In 2018, when Woodward arrived at SCPS, 35 players suited up for the football team.
“When I got (to SCPS) in 2018, we had like 20 guys come out for spring camp,” said Woodward in a Wednesday phone call with PSR. “Now, we’ve got something like 56 guys in the program and those numbers allow us to schedule a (spring) game like this one.”
This season, the Raiders will play in region 3-3A with Calvary, Country Day, Johnson, Beach, Groves and Long County.
SAVANNAH COUNTRY DAY at JENKINS HIGH SCHOOL
WHEN: 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: Jenkins Field
WHO: Savannah Country Day Hornets (4-7 in 2021) vs. Jenkins High School Warriors (6-5)
NOTES: Free admission; fans can bring lawn chairs as seating is limited; visitors parking on Timberland Drive (turn off of DeRenne Ave.); Concessions will be available
This will be the first football game ever held on the campus of Jenkins High School, and HVJ head coach Tony Welch hopes that it will be the first of many. The Warriors enter Year 2 under Welch, and Jenkins is preparing for its move up in classification, from region 3-4A to region 1-5A beginning this Fall.
The game will be played as a live football game except for special teams. Welch says HVJ plans to play its first- and second-teamers in the first half, before working in the junior varsity players in the second half. HVJ expects to suit up roughly 87 players for the spring game Friday.
“We want to get a look at our young guys, and see how they’ll execute,” said Welch in a phone call with PSR on Wednesday. “We’ve got guys fighting for jobs not just on first team, but on second team and third team also. It’s an opportunity for them to show the coaching staff what they can do.”
SCDS and second-year head coach John Mohring will be moving on from four-year starting quarterback Barry Kleinpeter. Rising sophomore Barton Mixon is the likely replacement behind center for the Hornets, and returning starting running back Michael Grandy (739 rushing yards, nine touchdowns in 2021) should be a dependable weapon alongside Mixon.
For Welch, the new field at Jenkins is a relief to finally have available.
“It just feels nice not to have to travel for practice,” he said. “But hopefully this game on Friday night shows the public, the (HVJ) alumni, and the school district that we need more seats here in order to host regular season football games on campus in the future.
“It just makes sense. We have the parking and we have the space, we just need the seating.”
Photos - SCPS & jenkins Football Twitter sites
FOLLOW Travis Jaudon on Twitter/Instagram @JaudonSports. Email him at travisLjaudon@gmail.com.