THOMASVILLE — Thomas County Central's dress rehearsal for the 2019 season is Friday night when the Yellow Jackets host their preseason scrimmage at The Jackets' Nest.
After two weeks in full pads, the Yellow Jackets have an opportunity to assess their team's offense, defense and special teams units when the Cairo Syrupmakers come to town.
According to Yellow Jackets coach Ashley Henderson, positions are still available on both sides of the ball.
“We're still evaluating at some positions. We want to get some guys some experience on Friday night. We're going to play a lot of bodies. A couple of positions are still open and we're evaluating,” Henderson said. “We self scrimmaged the other day and got some good evaluations on people. There's a couple of more positions for grab, as far as starters and who's a Friday night kid and who's not?”
As the Yellow Jackets approach the start of the regular season, they do return experience on both sides of the ball. Central returns six starters on defense and six on offense, including seven linemen who have experience in the trenches.
Like other teams in the GHSA, the Yellow Jackets have been practicing in full pads since Aug. 1. Henderson has seen a difference in his team's progression, having two-plus weeks to prepare.
“Seems like back when we played, you practiced for two months before you played a game. Last year you only had one week. This year they backed it up a week so you get an extra week of preparation,” he said. “That's been nice having that extra week. Once you put on pads, that's when you really find out what you're made of — who wants some of it and who doesn't?”
The Yellow Jackets are looking to rebound in Henderson's second year, after finishing 5-5 and missing the playoffs in 2018. Central is off to a good start this offseason, having shown promising signs of growth during the summer.
“We've got some guys on both sides of the ball that have gotten a lot better just this summer," Henderson said. "That's exciting. Just to see the overall progression in each unit and each side of the ball has been fun to be a part of. We've not arrived but we're a different ball club than we were at the beginning of the summer. We're a lot further along right now.
“This Friday night we'll get a dress rehearsal to see where we stand.”
Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m.