Let the games begin
Football teams from East Rutherford, Chase and R-S Central take on N. Gaston, Landrum and W. Lincoln in the final exhibition before the regular season tonight at Allen Stadium.
Barely two weeks since the first day of practice and only eight days after the first full-contact practice, East Rutherford, Chase and R-S Central will each have one last opportunity to test their players against an opposing team before the August 22 start of the regular season.
Chase Trojans coach Daniel Bailey said the quick jump from the first day of practice to the jamboree came as a result starting the school year later, which did not push back the start of the fall sports season.
“As a coach, you would like to have a little more practice time. When they backed school up the sporting season did not change,” Bailey said. “It kind of put us in a tough situation, especially with the younger guys ... It’s tough. It’s different. You turn around twice and next thing you know you have a football game. You just want to make sure you have everything covered. A lot times you don’t get the number of reps to cover a certain situation.”
Each team played a brief scrimmage earlier this week, but tonight’s jamboree will be the first time coaches see how their players react in a game situation. The jamboree will also allow coaches time to experiment.
“There are a couple of things we’re working on. We have not put a brand new defense in, but it’s a defense that we have run the basics out of in the past seasons,” Bailey said. “We are wanting to go more towards a 3-4 because of the conference that we’re in. We have more skill guys than in the past and we’re down on our numbers for our linemen so that’s something we are going to be looking at. “Offensively, we’re going to be a triple-option team and we have a couple of spots for starting positions that are still being battled out. We are still trying to evaluate our
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players, see where they are at and who is going to give us the best chance of winning during the season. “
The jamboree kicks off with R-S Central vs. N. Gaston with the J.V. squads playing at 5:30 p.m. and the varsity squads playing at 6 p.m. East Rutherford and Landrum play at 6:45 p.m. starting with the J.V., then the varsity plays at 7:15 p.m. and Chase and West Lincoln round out the night with games starting at 8 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
“[West Lincoln] will bring a solid team, a tough team that will run straight at us and give us some play action passes,” Bailey said. “I think it will be a good evaluation for our guys before the season starts.”
Although Thursday will be the final preseason test for most Rutherford County teams, Thomas Jefferson Academy will have an extra day of preparation before traveling to Blacksburg, S.C. to play Spartenburg Christian and Southside Christian in the Iron City Jamboree at Blacksburg High School. Despite the rush to the final exhibition of the season, Thomas Jefferson Academy Gryphons coach Jerry Cash feels confident going into Friday’s games.
“We’re fine. We may have only had six official practices, but our kids have been here all summer,” Cash said. “We do offseason drills the first week school is out. We asked them to get in 20 days of the 29 (allowable offseason training days). We didn’t have everybody here this summer, but when August 1 came, we hit the ground running. We know our offense, defense and we’re in halfway decent condition. We feel pretty good. We’re probably ahead of a lot of people.”
The Iron City Jamboree starts at 6 p.m.