By Steve Williams
The 7 on 7 tournaments ended and the mandatory acclimatization days of helmets and shoulder pads only were completed.
Local high school football teams were ready to don full pads and start hitting on July 26 and most had their first preseason scrimmage at the end of that week.
The Focus contacted the head coaches and asked for their “first impressions” of their team’s performance. What areas did their team stand out and what areas need more work? Who were “bright spots” in the first scrimmage?
High school football fans in our local area are always anxious to hear about their teams and we’re sure they’ll be interested in that first scrimmage!
Warriors sharp for ‘live fire’
Christian Academy of Knoxville Head Coach Travis Mozingo’s Warriors scrimmaged Cocke County July 30.
“I felt like our players were sharp for their first live fire,” said Mozingo. “I felt like our defensive line was strong. We are looking to replace a few DEs on the front line to go with returning starters Austin Delp and Malachi Harrison. Overall, I’m pleased with the progress, though we have some clean-up in every area if we want to reach our team’s postseason goals.”
CAK’s second scrimmage was scheduled to be against Clinton at CAK this past Friday.
A lot of Bulldogs see action
Morgan Shinlever’s Bearden Bulldogs scrimmaged the Sevier County Smoky Bears on July 30.
“We got to play a lot of football and a lot of players,” said Coach Shinlever. “We need to develop depth at all positions and continue to focus on the fundamentals of the game.
“Seniors Kam Smith, Seth Arana and Nicco Young played well on defense; as well as newcomers Cayden Douglas and Preston LaBanca.”
The Bulldogs were scheduled to host a scrimmage against William Blount on Aug. 6.
Halls coach impressed with S-D
“We scrimmaged South-Doyle,” said Halls Coach Scott Cummings. “They are extremely loaded and a legit Class 4A state contender.
“We struggled at times and are breaking in several newbies with little to no varsity experience, so growing pains are expected. But good news is the pieces are there. We just have to figure out where they fit best and get some quick experience.
“Early in season will be the key. If we can win while gaining that experience, then we have a chance at a great season, but if things don’t go our way early we can’t panic. If by season’s end that experience gets better and we stay healthy, we can make a run.”
The Red Devils were to have scrimmaged at Hardin Valley Friday.
No surprises in Cherokees’ showing
“Fall scrimmages for us is a great opportunity to evaluate personnel and assess where we are as a team at this point in the season,” said South-Doyle Coach Clark Duncan.
In its scrimmage against Halls, Duncan said: “The areas we knew we would be good in we performed well at. We did some really good things on both sides of the ball, but I also know there are areas that we must improve on before Week 1.”
S-D had several bright spots and Duncan named offensive and defensive linemen Tavian Goodwin, Max Hull and Tate Hunter; linebacker Curtis Young; quarterback Nick Martin; and running backs Shawn Gary and Tajaun Owens.
Brown ‘pleased’ with Rebs’ effort
West scrimmaged Jefferson County on July 30.
“I was pleased with our effort and the way we competed,” said Coach Lamar Brown.
“Trevon Barfield and Brayden Latham had great days at tailback. Trevon had 80-yard and 40-yard touchdown runs. Brayden had a 55-yard touchdown run. Shannon Blair also had a 40-yard touchdown run.
“On defense, CJ Smith had several sacks and Cayden Latham and Jack Lavelle both had interceptions.”
The Rebels were slated to scrimmage South-Doyle Aug. 6.
Pressley likes Carter’s line play
Carter scrimmaged Hardin Valley on July 30.
“We played well in most of our strength areas and still have work to do in some of our questionable areas,” said Justin Pressley, who is starting his second season as the Hornets’ coach. “I was very happy with our interior performance on the offensive and defensive lines. I felt like we competed really well in the trenches.
“Offensively, Chandler Wilson was 20 of 34 passing with 3 TDs and made very good decisions, with the exception of one errant throw that was intercepted. “Overall, with no scrimmages last season, this was a huge opportunity for us to see where we are and where we can improve. Our kids showed energy and effort the entire scrimmage. Our staff is happy with how we competed and excited to get an opportunity to correct and go again on Aug. 6 at Austin-East.”
Potter pleased with ‘competitiveness’
“I was pleased with our competitiveness,” said Hardin Valley Head Coach Mike Potter after his team’s first scrimmage at Carter. “We needed more consistency, especially the longer the scrimmage went. At times, the O-line played well and created running lanes for the backs. At times, we protected the QB well. We had a couple big plays offensively, but turned the ball over a couple of times, which is not good.
“Defensively, I thought we played well against the run. We gave up big plays in the passing game. We got to get more pressure from down linemen.
“Overall, I was pleased with how we competed in the first scrimmage.”
The Hawks were to host Halls in their second scrimmage Friday.
Irish plays ‘hard’ versus Maryville
First-year Knoxville Catholic Coach Korey Mobbs saw his team play Maryville in its first scrimmage.
“The kids played hard with great energy,” said Mobbs. “We have a lot of things to fix on both sides, but it was a great first test for our bunch. A lot of guys got quality reps.
“Defensively, we ran to the football as a team and our emphasis on team tackling was apparent. Offensively, we did a good job of taking care of the football and limiting negative plays.”
Bobcats scrimmage Dobyns-Bennett
“Our first scrimmage July 30 against Dobyns-Bennett went well,” said Central Coach Nick Craney. “We made some really good plays and played well throughout the scrimmage. We had our share of mistakes and are thankful we have time between scrimmages to get things cleaned up.”
Black pleased with team’s ‘fight’
“I was pleased with our effort and the amount of fight that we had in us,” said Fulton Coach Rob Black after his team’s July 30 scrimmage at Oak Ridge, last season’s Class 5A state runner-up.
“I felt like our guys competed and for the most part, we executed pretty well. We still have some things to improve on, but with the right attitude and the willingness to keep working, we will be fine. I am a little concerned about our lack of depth in a few areas, but we have guys working to improve. We definitely need to continue to build depth and get in better playing condition.”
Scores of scrimmages can be misleading, but one source told The Focus he heard Fulton defeated Oak Ridge 28-0.
When told that, Black replied: “Misleading would be a good word to describe it. We both had some starters out. We executed pretty well. Their QB WAS NOT 100 PERCENT. He is coming off of a broken hand.”
Karns’ offense ‘consistent’ at GCA
“We saw a lot of good things,” said Karns Coach Brad Taylor after his team’s first scrimmage at Grace Christian on July 30. “And just like every time, we saw a lot of things we can improve on and get better at. But I really felt like offensively, we did a lot of good things and were really consistent.
“It was a good clean scrimmage on both sides, and I think both teams came away with stuff they can build on and be happy about.”
Taylor noticed the Rams being “very aggressive defensively,” a new look for them under first-year head coach Justin Long. And with former Grace head coach Rusty Bradley, who is known for his passing game, now the OC at Webb, it’s not surprising the GCA offense looked more balanced.
Taylor was expecting a different type test in Karns’ scrimmage versus Webb Thursday, particularly on the defensive side, saying the Spartans can stretch the field with talented players.
Webb goes against Campbell County
“We scrimmaged Campbell County,” reported Spartans Coach David Meske. “I thought for a first scrimmage we did alright.”
Farragut hosts Panthers Tuesday
Farragut Coach Eddie Courtney’s Admirals were to have scrimmaged at Cookeville Aug. 5 and will host Powell in a scrimmage Tuesday.