With the opening game of the high school football season looming just a dozen days away, local squads have been kept busy with practices and numerous scrimmages.
Both Bradley Central and Walker Valley made the trek up toward the Knoxville area on Friday evening for a pair of practice games, as the Bears took on Knoxville Webb while the Mustangs took on Heritage in Maryville.
For Bradley head coach Damon Floyd the evening proved fruitful as his team is still working on corrections.
“It went okay. Our kids played hard, but it’s still the preseason, so we’re still making mistakes. We’ve got to make sure that we fix those by the 23,” Floyd said. “Number one, we need to make sure that they’re doing their assignments and technique is always an issue. We’re still working on fundamentals.”
According to the coach, the team is moving along and learning how to do their jobs every time and trusting their teammates.
The Bears scrimmage consisted of a 15 offensive plays series, followed by 15 on defense for a total of 40 offensive plays each.
“I thought Baylor Terrell played really well. We had a starter out, so Dalton Cooley stepped in and did a really nice job. There are still some positions that are up for grabs as to whose are going to be starting against Polk (County in the season-opener Aug. 23),” Floyd said.
Playing a true game-situation format, the Mustangs match up against Heritage proved to be very beneficial for the young team’s growing up process.
“We started very sluggish and Heritage jumped up on us 28-7 by the half,” Walker Valley head coach Glen Ryan said. “We talked about attitudes, game mentality no matter if it’s a scrimmage or a game, and made some adjustments here and there. The guys came out and responded real well in the second half.”
The Mustangs came out after the half and was able to positively respond to their halftime pep talk.
“In the second half they (Heritage) scored once while we scored three touchdowns, making it 35-28. We were also driving and down inside the 5-yard line when the clock ran out,” Ryan explained. “We still have some mistakes to deal with, but the kids responded well. It’s never good to lose, but I feel like we grew up some as a football team Friday. We came back and started realizing what it’s all about. I think the scrimmage was beneficial and just might give us the jump start we need.”
Coach Ryan has had some concerns with his team, but feels that Friday’s scrimmage will work to remedy them.
“One of my main concerns has been their lackadaisical approach. I think it opened their eyes up a bit — it doesn’t matter if it’s a scrimmage or game you have to treat it all the same,” Ryan said.
According to the coach, there were quite a few standout players during the scrimmage.
“Cory Cook did a good job running quarterback for us, especially in the second half. He made some nice decisions,” Ryan said. “Colton Morrow did a really good job running the football. I felt like our offensive line grew up and really stepped up.”
Ryan was also impressed by the efforts of Ian Stanberry, Marvin Bullington, Jonathan Davis, Garrett Moore, Elijah Haynie and Cooper Melton in their respective positions.
Without anymore scrimmages scheduled, Walker Valley will have return to the practice field this week before getting a chance to see how much they’ve improved Saturday at 7 p.m. against Howard in the High School Jamboree at Findley Stadium.
Bradley will host Brainerd on Wednesday at 6 p.m. for a scrimmage, and then will travel to Chattanooga for the Jamboree Friday for an 8:30 matchup with Tyner.
Cleveland High will host Rhea County Tuesday for its final scrimmage before squaring off against Boyd-Buchanan Friday at 7:30 in the Jamboree.