In case you haven’t noticed yet, we’re 12 days away from starting high school football season. Among the area teams playing that Thursday night are WFHS, Iowa Park, Wichita Christian, Newcastle, Throckmorton and Forestburg.
The first set of football scrimmages are also in the books. I went out to Holliday Friday morning with my two kiddos and watched most of the Eagles’ scrimmage against Iowa Park.
My attention was diverted for a few plays when a matchbox car went mysteriously missing amongst the empty bleachers (yes, this is my life). It was almost a catastrophe for my 4-year-old son. But my 2-year-old daughter was a trooper and I stayed there for the whole time and talked to both coaches after the game.
Here are my thoughts on that scrimmage and what I’ve heard/read from others.
* Iowa Park scored three times, twice with its No. 1s. Holliday’s only touchdown came with its No. 1s. The Hawks also almost scored on a long screen play at the end, but a bad snap and Holliday’s defense kept the Hawks out of the end zone a fourth time.
* Nothing really surprised me. The Hawks, with lots of guys returning and more depth, looked better. Remember at this scrimmage last year, Iowa Park never found the end zone. Derrick Ponder doesn’t have WR Jared Price anymore (he was kicked off the team this past week), but he’s got a lot of guys who can play multiple positions and make someone miss.
And Holliday didn’t look bad but you could tell the Eagles were tentative on defense. Which is what you’d expect from a team learning a whole system. Coach Frank Johnson thought as much afterward when he said there were times his guys were thinking instead of reacting.
* Holliday’s QB situation still might not be set, but it seems like junior Matthew Tigert will end up being the starter. He took all the snaps with the No. 1s. Sophomore Levi Draper was with the No. 2s and it sounds like he’ll play on the field somewhere if not at QB.
* There were a couple big plays by each team. Holliday’s only touchdown came on a nice run by Chase Duncan, while Aaron Ehlert had IP’s long TD catch. The Hawks’ other touchdown with its No. 1s came on a long drive, and Brennan Whitaker led IP down the field with the reserves. Whitaker will factor into the offense at multiple positions this year.
* I liked Iowa Park’s run defense. It seemed like there wasn’t much room to run for the Eagles.
* Derrick Ponder completed his first 5 or 6 passes and looked pretty sharp. The Hawks throw lots of short stuff (kind of like Graham). The one deep pass he completed (on IP’s first drive) I felt like Holliday’s CB should have gotten a hand on. On the other deep balls, I thought Holliday’s coverage was good. Ponder had some barely overthrown balls, but they had to be overthrown because the guy in red had good coverage.
* Johnson wasn’t too worried after the game and I don’t blame him. A bigger school is supposed to have more depth. He felt like a lot of mistakes are correctable. Every other area 2A school would have had problems with the Hawks.
* Holliday has a new scoreboard. I’m not sure if the Eagles will have in-game replays or not, but it looks like it has the capability at least.
OTHER SCRIMMAGE ACCOUNTS
I got most of these from passed-along accounts from coaches or people who were at the scrimmages. If anybody wants to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to tell me about any other area scrimmages, I’ll update this blog.
* Worked on a Hirschi story for Sunday’s paper and Coach Slater had lots of good things to say about Friday’s showing against Sweetwater. Each Husky QB (Terrance Cooper and Rico Shumpert) threw two touchdown passes. WR Charles Brown, someone the coaches have been very high on, had TD grabs of 68 and 70 yards.
The defense forced four turnovers and only allowed one score. Slater said the Sweetwater coach afterward thought the Huskies were further along than at this point last year, and while although a scrimmage, it’s still a good sign going forward.
* Seymour edged Henrietta 1-0 with its starters. Not sure who caught it, but the Panthers scored on a long pass on an uncovered receiver. Even though the Bearcats didn’t score, I was told they looked better on offense and worked some no-huddle.
* Nocona and Windthorst didn’t score at all with their starters. Sounded like the Indians had a couple long runs and their No. 2s had two touchdowns. The Trojans struggled moving the ball as well with only two first downs with starters in (one less than Nocona).
* Jacksboro beat Petrolia 2-0 in a controlled scrimmage and 1-1 in two OT periods. Not sure about details but that tells me the Pirates stepped it up some and maybe the Tigers weren’t clicking on all cylinders.
* It sounded like City View played well early but then Electra finished off their Saturday scrimmage strong. Each No. 1s had 15 plays – the Mustangs won that session 1-0. But the Tigers won the live quarter 2-0 and City View coach Rudy Hawkins had good things to say about Electra QB Michael Bishop.
This scrimmage was also done differently than most. Each team had inside hulls (inside run stuff with no wideouts or outside runs), 7-on-7 plays, 15 offensive plays, 5 red zone plays and then the live quarter. I kind of like all the different sequences.
* Coach Bateman at Vernon said if you totaled all the TDs up, the Lions and Abilene Wylie both had four. Wylie had a 2-1 edge with the No. 1s, and live quarter was a 1-1 deadlock. If you’re expecting the Lions to drop off this season, I think you’re going to be mistaken.
* I know Graham-Eastland got moved to a neutral site because of Friday rain and that the Steers won by four or five touchdowns. Doesn’t surprise me a bit – and Eastland is a district 2A favorite.