Scheduled for a 6 p.m. start time for their second and final 7-on-7 passing competition, the Raiders traversed the scenic mountaintop and arrived some 15 minutes late to the get-together with Red Bank, Notre Dame, Brainerd and host Signal Mountain.
"We didn't know where we were going. Whoever does the maps apparently needs to redo their app," Crawford joked. "We saw Thrasher Elementary, beautiful Signal Mountain and we saw a bunch of nice subdivisions."
After a short warm-up period, the Raiders went right to work with Austin Herink in control of the offense. After stumbling a bit on offense and defense in the early going, Cleveland settled in and sharpened up on both sides of the ball. Crawford said the roundabout trip and the short loosening up period contributed to the slow start.
"That (being late) and we had four minutes to warm up for our first game," Crawford said of the Raiders’ lack of production. "We really didn't get broken in and ready to go. I think we did better and competed better as we went."
As the day wore on with no down time between the 20-minute sessions, Cleveland's focus became sharper. Still, Crawford acknowledged, there were too many mental lapses for comfort on both sides of the ball.
"We've still got a lot of things to fix. We still don't have enough people running to the football when it's thrown. Mentally we are still a little fragile. They are having a bit of a difficult time learning how to be coached when they are tired and adversity hits," he said. "All those things will come. I think we are building some good relationships. The kids understand we care about them. We are coaching them hard and they are playing hard. It is going to be a continual work in progress."
The continuous play — with just enough time to finish one scrimmage with one team and set up for another — was made more difficult by the intense heat and humid conditions. The coach said he felt the nonstop action will help pay dividends down the road.
"Now we can see if they can think when they are tired, and react when they are tired. We get to see how they respond, how when things go bad and they are tired, can they play? Can they put it behind them and forget it? All of it is just another part of practice and trying to get better," Crawford said of the continuous scrimmaging.
"We have gotten a ton of reps. We have played seven series with no breaks. We are working on our down-the-field passing game and our offense and defense. We didn't rig anything up. We are just doing what we do. We are just working on little things that we are trying to get better at."
The Signal Mountain get-together was the final 7-on-7 competition for the Raiders, who get back to a routine practice schedule the rest of the week.