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9th Annual Pigskin Preview

Paulding Rotary Club President Jeb Gordon welcomed guests to the August club meeting. Under normal circumstances, today's Rotary club meeting would have been held in the Dallas Civic Center as the 9th Annual Pigskin Preview. The club enjoys reaching out to County football head coaches for a preview of the high school football season. Usually, the event and luncheon fill the Civic Center with football players, band members, coaches, and interested County officials. This year, unfortunately, due to the pandemic, we have had to make some changes. Today we welcome three coaches, to talk about their teams and hopefully next week we will welcome the two other County head coaches. Mr. Gordon then introduced, Ford Thigpen chairman and coordinator of the Pigskin Preview event.
Ford Thigpen welcomed the guests to the club meeting and expressed his pride in continuing this event for the ninth year, and gave special thanks to Jason Freeman, Athletic Director for Paulding Schools. Jason has actively helped to coordinate and support this event from the beginning. He has been a great partner and a great friend to the club. Unfortunately due to social distancing, supporting members from the school board who would be here are not. We continue to thank them for their support and they appreciate what we are doing as a club by hosting this event. Also, I want to thank the Rotary Club for supporting this through the years. As far as the message of teamwork and discipline goes, I can't think of a better example than football. Under the circumstances we are living in now I can't think of something that we need more than a message of teamwork. Especially so with our young men today, and that's why I'm so glad we have these coaches leading them.pigskin 1 600x314Joining us today we have Coach Van Spence from Paulding High, Coach Billy Shackleford from East Paulding, and joining us for the first time Coach Jason Nash from South Paulding. With that, Mr. Thigpen offered them the podium.
Van Spence, Paulding's head coach, took the podium and began by thanking his Athletic Director Dustin Skelton, and Principal Wilcox for the leadership. Coach Spence recounted a previous meeting with Ford in March about how great things were shaping up for this season. Then it hits. Plans change, but you recover. We practice hard, and the biggest difference that you can notice is that we check temperatures. Other than that, things look normal and that normalcy is what we need right now. We need it as a community. I am thankful that our school board in letting us get back to school. I pray every night and I would ask that if you pray please do. Pray for safety and that we get to continue to come to school and that we get to keep playing ball. Coach Spence acknowledged the addition of Ombre Brown and Gene Reynolds to the defensive staff. We have a lot of talent this year, at least 8 that could potentially play college ball. I wish all the guys in the county the best. Thank you.
Billy Shackleford for East Paulding then took the podium. Mr. Shackleford proceeded to thank his staff beginning with Andy Dorsey, a new athletic director. Coach Shackleford also thanked new East Paulding principal Brad Thomason who he attributed much hard work to, especially under the current pandemic circumstances. With the Pandemic and the civil unrest, along with the financial worries, as a nation, we are under assault. However, if there is one thing I know it's that Americans are tough. I don't know of a time that we have needed football more, because to me football represents our foundation as a country. It represents the toughness, tenacity, and fighting for the guy beside you. Teamwork is essential in football and is what is desperately needed today. Kids are working hard. Depth is what we are concentrating on. He thanked the club for the service to the community.
Next, South Paulding head coach Jason Nash took the podium. Thank you to the Rotary for having us out today It's an honor. I'd like to start by saying thanks to my athletic director, Lamarr Glen. We came in together, this is our first year at South Paulding and I couldn't ask for better support. Thank you to our administration, Dr. Rollin who could not be here today, but he is a great guy as our principal he is a pleasure to work with. Also let me thank my wife, Ashley through thick and thin she is always a support to me. I have two beautiful kids and it has been a blessing to move them into Paulding County. This year has been an experience with dealing with COVID, though I've been doing this for 19 years. This year is my first year as head coach.
I want to play ball I feel we have a great team. We have a large team, lots of returning seniors. Offense and defense are looking good. Special shout to new offensive staff members, BJ Ruis we were able to hire him away from college ranks division 2 ball, and from Douglas County, Eric Robinson they are both outstanding. Thank you again and I will be looking forward to seeing you at South Paulding. In conclusion, Club Pres. Gordon thanked everyone for their attendance and participation in the meeting. Then the meeting was closed with the pledge of allegiance.