Scrimmage games set for todayPublished 9:57am Friday, August 23, 2013
FRANKLIN—Franklin High School and Southampton High School each have different strategies for Friday’s scrimmage games.
For Broncos head coach Darren Parker, the atmosphere is going to be just like any other Broncos football game, while new Indians head coach Willie Gillus Jr., plans to use this as a chance to evaluate for the start of the season.
The Broncos start the season off against Lakeland High School in Suffolk. The Lakeland Cavaliers are a 4A team that went 8-4 this past season, while Franklin, a 1A team, went 15-1 this past season, losing in the state semi-final game. This will be the first time the teams have played.
“They are a disciplined team,” Parker said. “Coach (Bryan) Potts, he has done a great job getting them ready. We look forward to playing them.
“Competition makes you better. I think on Friday night, you will see two competitive teams out there playing.”
Parker said his athletes have looked good this week.
“We have had a great week of practice,” coach Parker said. “The coaches working hard, the kids working hard and we are just looking forward to Friday night.”
The main thing he wants to see out of his team tonight is that they are executing on all three phases of the game, offense, defense and special teams, Parker said.
“I’m looking forward to watching the tape on Sunday, and to make any improvements based on what we see,” he said. “We have to make sure that we are aggressive.
“We are going at this like it is a regular season game. We don’t believe in back ups. Everyone will get opportunities to play, but of course that goes to how we practice. Everyone is gearing up and doing well in practice. We are ready to play Friday night, and we are ready to play in September.”
In the most recent practices, Parker said they have slowed down from hitting in anticipation of the upcoming game.
“Hitting, we save that for the game,” Parker said. “I don’t believe in hurting and bruising each other — we’ll go into the game as healthy as can be. This works for us, and we’re not going to change. It has worked for years.”
Parker said the team is ready to play Franklin football in Suffolk tonight at 7.
“They are ready, my God, they are ready to play,” Parker said. “Everyone is excited and can’t wait for this Friday night, and after that, we will move on from there. God is great.”
The Southampton County High School Indians will start off the season against Wilson High School out of Portsmouth. The Presidents are a 4A team that went 0-10 this past season. Southampton is a 3A team that went 2-8 this past year.
Coach Gillus said that they are an experienced football team.
“They return a lot of starters in their program,” he said. “This is one of the fastest teams we will play all year. This is a huge challenge for our football team.”
This week, Gillus said he is planning for The Big Red Machine to be physical.
“We are going to be pushing the offensive and defensive line,” Gillus said. “We are going to establish a good running game. And on the defensive side, we’re looking to stop their running game.
“We just have to try to contain them, keep them from getting to the outside, and we have to try to be physical with them, to stop before they get going.”
Gillus is also looking to play as many people as possible.
“We’re looking to get an evaluation. I’m not interested in only looking at one or two good players playing.
“Everyone needs to get long hard looks. This is the last time we get a tune up before the first game. We need to give a hard look to game-time performance, especially to the back ups, the guys who will help down the road. That will be key, our backups.”
Gillus said he expected the team to be fundamentally sound by game day, but that they are still learning and getting better every week.
“We are trying to increase our game speed right now,” Gillus said. “Guys are in a learning process right now on what we are trying to do.
“We are trying to get up and still continue to be fundamentally sound, in offense, defense and special teams.”
This is going to be a fast and exciting squad, Gillus said, so he encouraged fans to come out today at 6 p.m. at the field at Southampton County High School to watch them play.
“You can expect to see a very sound football team,” Gillus said. “This is a team that is going to fly with a lot of speed on defense, with a lot of physicality in hitting folks. We also want to be fundamentally sound in blocking and tackling.”
Another factor that Gillus emphasized was that this was a process, with a new system being installed.
“You don’t just come in, and in 3-4 weeks, turn a program completely around,” Gillus said. “We’re taking it one step at a time. But we are very confident and pleased with what we’ve been seeing out of the players. We are headed in a positive direction.”
One of those goals is to try to build a core group of players who are not only good athletes, but also who are strong in the classroom.
“We are looking forward to the season,” Gillus said. “The players are geared up for attending classes and executing as a football team. They are eager to get in the season, and hit someone up, besides our own players.”