By Bobbie Brown
Today was the day for the first Friday scrimmages for 2018. I headed to Valley Schools. It’s a spot in the road between Quitaque and Turkey where the shared school sits. To get there, I had to navigate northeast through a few pretty strong thunderstorms that had popped up in the late afternoon August heat. I was going to see Valley, Spur, Petersburg, and White Deer test their skills against each other to begin the football season.
I arrived at Valley to cars and trucks parked everywhere! Finally found a spot way away from the field under a big cottonwood tree and gathered my camera gear. The JV teams were underway. All four teams were playing at the same time using just half of the field. The varsity teams started at 7:00PM on the dot.
All four teams looked ready to hit someone besides their own teammates. I can truthfully say that all four teams had a good showing on defense. White Deer won the defensive battle, but Valley put up a strong display of skills as well. Spur and Petersburg were surprising. Petersburg is a young team, but they played together and did it very well! Spur has a few starters out but also showed up to play. The first scrimmage of the year is always a learning experience for players and coaches. Lots of learning took place last night. I witnessed many teaching moments where coaches gave instruction, and the players went out and executed. It was great to see that at the first scrimmage of 2018.
I don’t think I quit smiling last night… well, except when I almost got taken out. Twice. By the same team. Whoever said you can’t roller skate in a buffalo herd was right! Thank you, Buffaloes, for being aware and side-stepping me several times. You were paying attention, and I was lucky. Oh, so lucky.
I hear many different things on the sidelines. I hear coaches teaching, I hear players talking to each other about plays. I hear parents yelling from the stands. Not everything is serious. There are times when I have to turn and walk away because I can’t keep the laughter inside. Last night I experienced several of those moments. One player got upset and yelled at a player on another team for inappropriate placement of the hands while tackling. It seems this happened several times, and he was fed up. I also heard a coach instruct his players to sit and watch another team because then they’d learn how to block appropriately. I enjoyed seeing the animation from Coach Keith and Coach Rucker. They are so much fun to watch! You don’t have to guess what they are thinking, and they use their entire body to convey their message to players. Coach Solis and Coach Clark take a different approach. No matter the approach, I enjoy it all.
I know you all are ready for games to get started. I’m right there with you! Last night’s scrimmage was a good start. I look for Spur and Petersburg to surprise some teams. White Deer will hold their own and may just slip past some people who think they are down. Valley is Valley. They don’t rebuild, they reload. They may be experiencing some growing pains right now, but I know they will get it together and do well.
I’m now really excited about the season. Get out there and watch some teams! It’s less than two weeks until games start. Until then, go forward and do Good!