Even a veteran coach can get a little rusty after a 21-day layoff.
Heading to practice Monday morning, Alexander coach Olten Downs had to return to his office after leaving a piece of equipment.
“I forgot my whistle,” Downs grinned.
The Cougars will take on Lithia Springs on Friday night in their first game in 21 days because of COVID protocol in the program.
The game was originally scheduled for Aug. 27 but had to be postponed because of the health issue. The teams agreed to play this week because of a common off week.
Alexander’s game against Cartersville last week was canceled and will not be made up.
“It has been tough getting back into the routine,” said Downs, who is in his first season as coach. “The players forget a few things, and even the coaches forget. I had to go back and get my whistle.”
In the meantime, Lithia Springs enjoyed a 28-20 win over Southwest DeKalb last week on the road.
Lions coach Corey Jarvis called it a big confidence boost for his squad.
“It was huge,” Jarvis said. “We know we can play good ball. It was encouraging to be able to shut down an offense with some explosive kids.”
The Lions scored 14 unanswered second-half points to claim the win.
“We played well at times,” Jarvis said. “Overall, the kids did well in the second half.”
Alexander hasn’t played since a 45-2 win over Chapel Hill on Aug. 20 to open the season.
The Cougars will need to shake off the rust quickly against an underrated Lions squad.
“I definitely think the kids are excited about playing again,” Downs said. “I hope they channel that excitement into motivation. We respect all our opponents. The biggest thing is we have to execute our plays and be physical. We are trying to play a physical brand of football.”
Alexander will face a Lions offense that has been explosive at times in games against Douglas County and SW DeKalb.
Lions junior quarterback Jai’que Hart has completed 54% of his passes for 597 yards and six touchdowns with four interceptions.
Both coaches have had re-adjust their schedules because of the game.
Lithia Springs was going to have an open date this week before traveling to south Georgia to take on powerhouse Lee County.
Now the Lions will play nine straight weeks before an open date.
“It is kind of tough because we don’t get a rest until the next to last game,” Jarvis said. “We are hoping it works out for the best.”