Pigskins are in the air

Last updated: August 12. 2014 12:14PM - 350 Views
By Ron Gregory ronjgregory@gmail.com



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After a week of practices around the state, the high school football season – and college too – is just around the corner.


The speed with which summer progresses and ends has always been fascinating to me. As the winter months drag on, summer picks up all the speed of a rushing locomotive and departs just as quickly.


It was good news last week to hear that 25 youngsters have shown up for practices at Van. It looks as though there will be no danger of cancelling the 2014 season for the Bulldogs. Past shortages have caused tremendous problems but, this time, the Bulldogs will be able to compare with several other Class A teams in terms of numbers.


The reports from Scott have all been positive as well. Veteran Coach Shane Griffith told me late last week that he is really pleased with this year’s class. It was obvious that Griffith expects a major turnaround from last year’s disappointing won-loss record in Skyhawk country.


I’ll know more about Sherman after visiting a practice this week although, honestly, I seldom evaluate pre-season accurately.


As an old Buddy Ryan fan, I was impressed the year he led the Arizona Cardinals to an undefeated pre-season. Then the Birds were horrific in regular season play, went 4-8, and Ryan was fired.


Still, pre-season is a time when real coaches can evaluate their talent, move folks where they are best, and make a run at an undefeated season.


Hope springs eternal for all the Boone County teams.


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One idea I always had as an armchair coach, though, was to develop a tremendous kicker on any high school team. I have repeatedly watched as offenses drive the ball to the opponent’s 20, face a fourth down and the kicker sails one a half-mile to the right or left.


That usually prompts coaches to stop trying field goals, preferring instead to go for a first down. Often, that fails and the opposing team gets the ball.


I have always said that if I was ever a coach – which I will never be – I would line every boy on the squad up on day one and tell them to kick the football as far as they could through the goal posts. I would figure out who the best prospect was; make him the untouchable star of the team; and keep him on the bench except for kicking situations. I wouldn’t care if he was the best quarterback in Triple A, I’d let the water boys keep him in refreshments until I needed a field goal or long punt.


I’d pamper and support the kicker until he’d think he was NFL material – and he might be. How many times have YOU seen a high school game lost because the team has no kicker?


* * * * * *


For those readers who ask, no I do not have a Twitter account. My cell phone is always the best way to reach me, although the email works too.


I don’t Twitter for several reasons, one being that I am afraid some irate reader will “twit” on me.


* * * * * *


Scott will play the late game when the second-annual Cardinal Conference Grid-o-Rama is held Saturday, August 16, at Scott High’s field.


The Cardinal, one of the state’s premier Class AA leagues, has eight members. Thus, four controlled scrimmages are held with a continuously running game clock.


Gates open at noon with the first scrimmage, between Poca and Sissonville, commencing at 1:15 p.m. At 3:30 p.m., Herbert Hoover and Tolsia will line up. Scrimmage three begins at 5:45 between Chapmanville Regional and Wayne.


Scott will kick off the nightcap at 8 against Mingo Central.


Admission is $7 for both students and adults with receipts being divided among the membership. Concessions will be available in the game-like atmosphere.


* * * * * *


While pre-season scrimmages are positive things, I have always cautioned fans not to put too much stock in them. No coach worth his salt is ever going to reveal his best talent and finest plays before the season begins. That would just not make any sense.


My recollection is that Lincoln County High, for example, usually looked spectacular in their conference grid-o-rama only to finish up 0-10 in the regular season. Thus, if your team looks like a world-beater at a scrimmage, wait a little bit before making a reservation in Wheeling for December.


* * * * * *


Your comments, rumors, game results and story ideas are always welcome. As noted, call my cell (304-533-5185) or use the email listed.

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