Scrimmages prep Vikings to open 2012 high school football season
Jamie Shell / (firstname.lastname@example.org)
On Wednesday, Aug. 8, the Vikings hosted five high schools at MacDonald Stadium for a structured scrimmage for varsity and JV clubs. Avery squared off with visiting Patton, West Caldwell, Happy Valley (Tenn.) and Hampton (Tenn.) high schools. Mitchell also participated at the scrimmage, but since the two border rivals meet this week, the teams were not pitted against one another.
“I feel like we held our own and left pleasantly surprised. We have a really young club and we’ve been going against ourselves. We weren’t sure how we’d look, but I was pretty pleased,” Vikings head coach Darrell Brewer said of his team following the event.
The Vikings worked on multiple offensive formations at the home scrimmage, utilizing a similar spread formation to previous seasons as well as under-the-center formations to take advantage of live game situations. Defensively, the Vikings used its traditional formations, in addition to some extra wrinkles in pass rushing and coverage to make game changing plays.
“We’ve been using a ‘30’ front and ‘40’ front to mix things up a bit defensively,” Brewer explained. “With a lot of young kids, they have to get experience and playing time while getting accustomed to our signals and what is expected of them at their positions. I thought the kids played hard. We made some mistakes, and that’s to be expected, but I hope we’ve gotten those mistakes out of our system leading into our first game next week. I like this bunch. They’re a great bunch of kids who take coaching well and work hard.”
Avery was scheduled to attend Carter County Jamboree at Unaka (Tenn.) High School on Friday, Aug. 10, but inclement weather forced the event to be postponed until the following day. The event began with individual contests, as Viking quarterback Tre Jackson won the competition for the longest kickoff. Other events included fastest lineman, longest throw and fastest back.
Avery played Unaka for two quarters at the jamboree and fell behind 6-0 following a touchdown on the first Rangers possession assisted in part by a level of confusion by the Big Red defense. The Vikings offense looked far from perplexed, however, marching downfield on the Rangers defense on its first series.
Vikings senior running back Luke Childress made a pair of plays on the scoring drive, the first a bone-crushing hit on a quarterback run against a Unaka defender. The second play earned six points, as Childress took a handoff and jaunted off the right side to the end zone to knot the game at 6-6 late in the first quarter.
Avery held Unaka and forced a punt on each of the final three Rangers possessions of the contest. The offense came through with another touchdown drive in the half to account for the final margin. The possession was highlighted by a pair of pass connections across the center of the field from Jackson to senior wide receiver Austin Robbie, with sophomore running back Austin Phillips toting the pigskin 12 yards for a touchdown to cap the drive.
“I felt like we picked up where we left off Wednesday,” Brewer said following the jamboree. “I think we ended up getting better today. Luke and Austin make a good change-up for us in the backfield and it keeps those guys rested, as they’ll have to also play defense for us.”
Saturday’s scrimmage seemed to answer the question regarding which player the Vikings will begin the season with under center, as Jackson took each snap and led Avery with both his arms and legs.
“Tre did a good job and doesn’t look like a sophomore starting for us at quarterback. He’s aggressive and carries himself well,” Brewer said. “What the decision boiled down to was that Tre was just a little better runner, but we felt Stetson was a little better receiver than Tre as well. When you talk about putting your best 11 players on the field, we need them both on the field and felt like that was the best way to get both of them out there and give us the best chance to win ballgames.”
Avery opens regular season play at Mitchell at 7 p.m. this Friday, Aug. 17, at Memorial Stadium in Ledger.