With another week of practices in the blistering heat under their belts, the New Brockton Gamecocks (0-0) have shifted focus to preparing for the season opener this week against the Providence Christian Eagles (0-0).

After starting off the week a bit sluggish, the Gamecocks put together another strong week of practices last week.

“We had a good week,” New Brockton coach Zack Holmes said. “We kind of switched from Fall camp mode to game mode after Thursday’s practice.

“I think the guys are tired of beating on each other and ready to face somebody else and start preparing for another opponent.”

Holmes said the biggest hurdle last week was getting over the mental hurdle of simply wanting to get practices over with because of the scoring heat.

“We’re not going to allow days where we’re just trying to get through it,” Holmes said. “If we’re having a day like that we will completely restart the day. That’s the key to it.

“What is your standard and what are you willing to allow? Everybody has tough days where they just to get through it but champions find a way to set the standard and make sure they’re at that standard no matter the outside circumstances.”

Last season, Providence Christian dominated New Brockton in the season opener, and the Eagles come into 2019 with a No. 6 Class 3A preseason ranking.

Despite losing a big senior class from the 2018 team that made it all the way to the Class 6A Semifinals, the Eagles return all-state running back Wise Gordon and efficient senior quarterback Collins McClintock.

“We’re going to see a well-coached ball team that does things the right way and really gets after it,” Holmes said of Providence Christian. “They’re going to try to take the football and shove it down our throat.

“That’s their M.O. and they were pretty good at it last year. I think it’s going to be a great test for our kids and our program.”

The Gamecock defense surrendered 236 yards on the ground against the Eagles in 2018, but Holmes knows that New Brockton can’t forget about the Providence Christian passing game either.

“They’re going to run the ball extremely well, so we have to have a good plan for that,” Holmes continued. “The thing that worries you the most is they run it and run it and then they have all these easy throws because you’re so preoccupied with the run. We have to make sure we do a good job there.”

Holmes has been preaching about sustaining focus all through fall camp and he said that if his Gamecocks can do that this week, Friday night would sort itself out.

“Sustaining focus has been the theme for us since I got here,” Holmes said. “We just need a great week of preparation. The work happens throughout the week and then on Friday you can just go out and have fun.

“You shouldn’t have to be worried or nervous on Friday, because if you’re prepared it shouldn’t matter. No matter what the week or the weather holds, we have to have a great week of preparation. If we go out there and execute the game plan and do what we need to do we’ll give ourselves a chance to win, which is all you can ask for at the end of the day.”

New Brockton hosts Providence Christian at 7 p.m. on Friday.

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