Ariton returns to the field

Published 6:55 pm Wednesday, August 8, 2018

The Ariton Purple Cats stepped onto the practice field Wednesday afternoon for their third practice of fall camp. After spending the first two games wearing helmets, the Purple Cats strapped on the shoulder pads for the first time.

“We have just been in helmets on Monday and Tuesday,” said head coach Steven Kilcrease. “Today was our first day we could go in shells. We have had two good days of practice. The guys have worked hard battling the heat and trying to survive. We have had good days of practice so far.”

The Purple Cats open up against Dale County on August 24. Until then, Kilcrease will spend the first week getting his guys acclimated to practice before turning his team’s attention to Dale County sometime next week.

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“It will be the end of next week,” Kilcrease said. “Right now our main focus is on us. Getting us better. We do a lot of things. We have to take care of fundamental things first and hopefully get prepared. We try to stick to a schedule. We may try to implement things for Dale County, but the main prep will come on game week.”

The Purple Cats had a season to remember last year. They finished the regular season with a 9-1 record and won the Region 2 championship.

Because of last year’s success, Ariton rolls into camp with a lot of excitement.

“I think that that our players are excited,” Kilcrease said. “We are hoping to build on what we had last year. We know that this is a new team and everything is different. We have a lot of starters back, but who is going to be that leader. We need people to step up.”

Kilcrease believes that close to 90 percent of his guys made it through workouts this winter and are prepared for a successful camp.

“They are committed to what we are doing,” Kilcrease said.  “Now it’s time to carry it over from last season.”

The Purple Cats return eight starters on offense and five on defense. Kilcrease has even more returning that saw plenty of action last season.

“We had more that played,” Kilcrease said. “We moved some guys around too. Yeah, those numbers look good, but we also have guys playing new positions, so we’d better be prepared.”

The Purple Cats will open up at home against the Warriors at 7 p.m.