Ironing out the wrinkles
It’s always nice to take out your aggression on something or someone you don’t have to see every day or actually get along with. Luckily for the Chase and East Rutherford football programs, they had the chance to go against Polk County and North Henderson Monday night at Polk County for a pair of preseason scrimmages.
The teams split the field in half and played three scrimmages separated into series of plays for each side of the ball. East and Chase did not play one another since they belong to the same conference.
“You get to the point where you want to go tee off on someone else,” East Rutherford head coach Clint Bland said.
For Bland and the Cavaliers, a few concerns arose, but one of his biggest questions was addressed.
“I wasn’t sure what Austin Hollifield could do but I thought he threw the ball well,” Bland said of his senior quarterback. “For him to come out in his first true varsity scrimmage as the man I thought he did well. He had one interception late in the last scrimmage and we talked to him and got it corrected.”
Last week Bland expressed concern over his young offensive line, but it seems that they might be up to the varsity task.
“I saw some good stuff with the offensive lineman,” Bland said. “We worked out a few mistakes in practice because we weren’t running the trap as well as I would have liked, which is important in the I-formation.”
Sophomore tailback Cameron Garrison separated himself from the crowded Cavalier backfield, but Rashead Hamilton made a few highlight reel plays of his own from the backfield.
“Rashead had a good night. He kind of bounces around and makes holes,” Bland said. “I like to see a running back hit it and run where it’s supposed to be run, but if you can punch it in the the endzone one way or another I won’t complain too much.”
Defensively, aside from a few coverage breakdowns in the secondary, the coaching staff is pleased.
“The scrimmage as a whole, I was pleased. Not to say we don’t have a ton of things to work on, but for it being the first one I can live with it,” Bland said.
Now the Cavaliers shift their focus to Thursday night’s Rutherford County Jamboree.
“I want to take the interception away and play two quarters without a turnover,” Bland said of his jamboree goals. “When you lay the ball on the ground chances are the other team is going to score points off of it.”
Offensively, Hollifield needs to continue his progression under center.
“I want to see if we can control the clock and move the ball. I want to see some long drives and punch it in,” Bland said.
As far as the Trojans are concerned, the night held a very pleasant surprise.
“We felt that our defense played a lot better than expected considering we have a new front seven with so many new starters,” Chase head coach Daniel Bailey said.
All-Conference fullback Josh Wright was frequently spotted at defensive tackle.
“We’ll spot play him on the defensive line,” Bailey said. “Last night we just wanted to get him plenty of reps”
As far as the fullback position, Bailey was unimpressed.
“Our fullbacks didn’t really hit the holes and exploded the way we would have liked. It’s all about getting the reps,” Bailey said.
Bailey said that quarterback Tyrell Boykins threw the ball well but misread a few option reads.
“That will correct itself with more reps,” Bailey said.
The more concerning mistakes came in the passing game both offensively and defensively as the Trojan wide receivers dropped sure touchdown passes and the defensive backfield was burned by play-action passes on more than one occasion.
“It’s something that defensive backs usually do early in the year,” Bailey said. “Luckily that’s a a correctable mistake. We have a lot to improve on but it’s all things we can improve.”
Now it’s onto the highly-anticipated Rutherford County Jamboree.
“Right now it’s about getting better as a team and not trying to gameplan for a particular team,” Bailey said. “When you can get through your scrimmages and jamborees healthy, that’s what’s really important. We want to get after it but you don’t want to lose anybody before the season even starts. We can’t afford for the injury bug to get us.”