MONROE — The first season of lacrosse at George Walton Academy didn’t go as expected. In fact, it barely went on at all.
Just six games into the inaugural campaign, COVID-19 forced a halt to all spring seasons. The Bulldogs were 0-6 at the time, and none of the games were close.
“We really took it on the chin,” said GWA coach Scott Jackson. “But because we had teams all the way from Class A private schools to Class AAAAA, we were taking on a lot more established teams.”
The competition won’t be much easier this season, which started Wednesday at home against Stratford Academy. The Bulldogs have 14 games scheduled, and if they could win at least half, it would represent a huge leap forward.
“It sounds like a coaching cliché, but we just want us to get better every game,” Jackson said. “We’re so young and inexperienced. But I think we’re headed in the right direction.”
Jackson arrived from California, having both played and coached lacrosse at the high school and collegiate level.
He and his wife were looking for a change, and when he spotted on advertisement for a lacrosse coach in Georgia, he jumped on it.
“It was a leap of faith,” Jackson said. “But we were really impressed with the closeness and community aspect.”
GWA was the first local school to start a lacrosse team, and the numbers indicate there is a demand.
More than 70 kids are participating in the youth program. And for the second straight year, the varsity roster has 20 players.
Leading the team is senior Ryan Denhart, who’s back at goalie. Other returners include defenders Ben Sydnor and Eugene Rawl and, on offense, Garrett Edmund, Joey Rockmore and Ren Grimsley.
“You can tell a real difference this year,” Jackson said. “The kids are more dedicated, and they’ve made a huge leap forward.”