EATON — With the high school football season set to officially begin practice on Monday, Aug. 1, Preble County’s five varsity teams were in action last week during a 7-on-7 passing scrimmage at Eaton High School on Wednesday, July 20.
It was the first time for the all-county event, which gave local fans a chance to see their teams in action — without pads — prior to the official start of the season. It also gave coaches a chance to see their teams perform against outside competition before breaking out the pads.
“I was able to get together with the other coaches in the county just before the summer began,” said Eaton head coach Brad Davis.
“We found ourselves needing a 7-on-7 summer date,” Davis said. “What we had done in the past, for different reasons, couldn’t be done this year. So, I talked to few coaches to see what their 7-on-7 schedule was like, and that led to us deciding to send invitations to the county schools. Fortunately, we could all agree on a date, and hopefully we can turn this in to an annual event.”
As the varsity squads participated inside the football stadium, the JV teams played in the open grass fields next to the high school building. Several fans from all five programs came out to watch the teams play. Despite the heat early on, the weather eventually cooled down to moderate levels with the help of a cool breeze. Though several players did suffer cramps, no serious injuries occurred.
“I thought it went really well,” Davis said. “I know some of those schools play each other during the season, but it was good for us to see some different things, different formations, different schemes. Again, the idea was to bring the county schools together, to help eliminate travel and expense, and to compete against one another. Most of these kids know one another, so its good competition early in camp for everybody.
“Overall, I was pleased with our effort. We’ve had a few days of camp, so I know we didn’t have all of our legs under us. We started a little sluggish, but competed a little more as the games went on. That was really our focus coming in, to compete against new faces, new schemes, see some things we don’t see everyday in practice. We had too many mistakes, both physical and mental. But, that’s what camp is for, to learn and continue to build as a team. We can fix the physical mistakes, like too many dropped balls or poor technique, with more repetition. The mental mistakes are more frustrating. Those are just a lack of focus and mental effort, not being accountable to our teammates.”
First-year Twin Valley South head coach Clint Bartlett was able to get a good feeling from the day’s performance.
“I thought we did well today. There’s not much you can really assess from this scrimmage so early in the preseason, but we came out okay on this,” he said.
Tri-County North head coach Bill Derringer was optimistic.
“It was a good day for us here,” Derringer said. “We ran through our drills well and I didn’t notice too many glaring mistakes that were not correctable. The kids had fun and stayed out of harm’s way. I like what I see, but we still have a long way to go.”
The opening weekend of the season is set for Friday, Aug. 26.
Reach Oliver Sanders at 937-683-4062 or on Twitter @osanders_RH