Commerce head coach Steve Moss was able to get better handle on things during Friday’s practice, the Tigers’ first in full pads.
“You can spend a lot time with kids and see how strong they are, but sometimes a kid can be really strong and not block and tackle or sometimes a kid can not be that strong and block and tackle really well,” Moss said. “It’s time to start figuring out who those people are.”
Moss said that 34 players have been participating in drills the first five days.
The Tigers host Ketchum Friday, Aug. 18 in their only pre-season tune-up. They travel to Sarcoxie, Missouri, the following week to open the regular season with a Week Zero game.
“The main thing is to get film in a good competition setting because every year we find somebody in that first scrimmage that is playing better than we thought they would,” Moss said. “We tell the boys every day that they could earn a starting spot in that first scrimmage.”
The weather was cool for the first couple of days then warmed up later in the week. That was a positive, Moss said.
“The cool weather was nice, but you want to get them acclimated to that (the heat),” he said, “especially when you are practicing in 80 degree highs and worry that your first game might be 95.”
Staying healthy has been the No. 1 priority for the Eagles.
They did some limited hitting during Friday’s practice.
“We wanted to see where we’re at,” Afton coach Zach Gardner said. “We’re just trying to stay healthy. We’re not just going go kill each other in practice.”
He said there were some freshmen that stepped up and established themselves.
“We didn’t go too long but we got enough out of it,” Gardner said. “We will really figure out where we’re at when we go to Westville.”
The Eagles travel to Westville Friday, Aug. 18, for their only preseason scrimmage. Sallisaw Central also will be on hand.
They take the next week off, then kick off the 2017 season Friday, Sept. 1, at Colcord.
“We have been laying down what is considered our bread-and-butter plays and our scheme as far as the new personnel goes,” Gardner said.
Fairland benefitted from cooler weather earlier in the week.
“We liked it because our kids were really intense and were listening,” head coach Kent Marshall said. “After they start getting tired, it doesn’t matter if it is cool or hot, they wane on you a little bit. Being as it was early, I think it really helped us.
We walked through a lot of things and got a lot of things put in. We relished the short time we had.”
The Owls have had 29 players in camp “which is a pretty good number for us.”
He said a lot of that total is younger players.
Fairland got plenty of work in during Friday’s first practice in pads.
“We hit quite a bit, the one-on-one and two-on-two type stuff, then we went live offensively and defensively a little a bit,” Marshall said. “Kids go all summer and they just cant wait to put the pads on, then they go through those first four days and get worn out. They come out and think they are going to set the world on fire, then find out their bodies just aren’t responding as well as they thought it would. I think they were a little disappointed in how things went. They are just tired.”
The Owls travel to Chelsea Friday for a three-way scrimmage that includes Chouteau.
“Chelsea will probably be a little more finesse and Chouteau will probably be a little more power oriented. It’s a good combination to have,” Marshall said.
FHS opens its season Thursday, Aug. 24 at Colcord.