Gridiron Glory Media Day Recap

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Seventeen teams crowded the Schoonover Center in Athens on Sunday for the inaugural Gridiron Glory Media Day. Pride and high energy filled the lobby despite each team scrimmaging the day before.

Players and coaches were treated to catered food before listening to guest speaker and 2003 Gridiron Glory Player of the Year Donnie Johnson speak on the on the importance of balancing life and sports in school.

“His story was interesting to me,” Athens defensive end Brendan Sano said. “I can relate to it because I play multiple sports and I try to be the best player I can be so I really compare myself to him as I grow older.”

After Johnson’s speech, teams were instructed to attend one of four stations: one-on-one interviews, panel discussion, team and individual headshots and a social media area.

The social media station was a favorite among the athletes. Though the season has yet to start that did not stop competitive spirits from sprouting. Players were able to challenge members from other teams to a quick exhibition match on “Madden NFL 16” or play the popular phone app “Heads Up!,” or simply play “Hangman.”

Players also took part in a light-hearted panel discussion led by Gridiron Glory Host Dani Dean. The questions ranged from the craziest coach on the team to the player’s pre-game music playlist. South Gallia guard Damon Hill may have had the oddest music preference as he chooses to listen to The Jackson 5 before every game.

The upbeat tunes of The Jackson 5 was not the only thing ringing positive spirits amongst the players. The optimism of each team resonated throughout Schoonover with hopes of improving on their standing from last year.

Even Jackson High School defensive end Cameron Williams believes his team can improve on the 11-2 record they held last year.

“Our No. 1 goal this year is to win regionals and to play in The ‘Shoe, to play in front of thousands of people would be our main goal this year,” he said.

The media day was a fun break from all the long practices and camp days the players and coaches have endured this summer, however, the teams still never lost focus of what is in front of them: Week One.

“I had a blast at [Media Day],” Crooksville center Austin Burgess said. “It’s been a good day to have fun and relax but [the season] is still in the back of your mind, you’re still getting ready for it because it’s just part of the mental preparation that comes with being a high football player.”

And Burgess is correct, the season is always on the players’ mind but for one day at least they were able to put the season aside and unwind.