The Eagles will travel to Jacksonville, Fla., on Aug. 30, to play Duval Charter School.
North Cobb Christian was originally scheduled to open the season against Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy at home next week, but SACA suspended its football program earlier this month. The decision put Eagles coach Scott Ryle into scramble mode to try and find a replacement game.
“There are websites like the Florida High School Athletic Association that post programs that need games, and that’s how I found (a replacement),” Ryle said.
Actually, it wasn’t quite that easy. Ryle said he tried finding games in Georgia and also searched in South Carolina and North Carolina before settling on a trip to the Sunshine State. But even then, it took a couple of tries to connect.
“I called the coach of one team in Orlando, and we were too late, but he told me to call Duval, and it worked out.”
Duval Charter is a relatively new program, just like North Cobb Christian. The schools are similar in size both in team and school enrollment. The lone drawback is the distance of the trip — nearly 400 miles.
“We did it in Texas,” said Ryle, who used to coach in Fort Worth. “We had a team in our district six hours away. If (the coaches) don’t make a big deal out of it, the players won’t make a big deal out of it.”
The players may even start to think of it as a mini-vacation.
Ryle said the schedule next week would be to leave early afternoon Thursday — missing only one class and beating the rush hour traffic out of Atlanta. Friday would start with a study hall, and then the team would begin preparing for the game.
On Saturday, the players will get “a couple of hours” at the beach, and then they will head for home.
Ryle said he hopes the experience will contribute to the team-bonding process.
“When you build a team, you have to trust one another,” he said. “It will be good to just hang out together.”