TRAVERSE CITY – It was tune-up Thursday for several football teams around the north.
Most took part in pre-season scrimmages, giving coaches one last, good evaluation before setting lineups for next week’s season openers.
Thirlby Field was the site of two scrimmages. Traverse City West hosted Mount Pleasant early in the day while Traverse City Central, St. Francis and Cheboygan squared off in the evening.
“It’s fun to get going,” West coach Tim Wooer said. “It’s fun to hit a different team.
“We’re young, especially on the defensive side. We lost eight seniors. We looked a little concerned, the deer in the headlight look. But I did like our physicality.
“I thought our offense played well at times. We’re certainly not polished. We’ll evaluate the film. At this point, it’s all about evaluating players and getting the best mix of players on the field for next Thursday.”
Traverse City Central and St. Francis looked impressive in their first matchups against Cheboygan, with each dominating the Chiefs. Central displayed good speed on offense and clicked on a few pass plays for nice gains, but it was all an added bonus, particularly with what head coach Tom Passinault was looking for in the session.
“The goal of a scrimmage is to, No. 1, come out healthy and we did that. No. 2 is to get enough snaps to where you can evaluate them on film. I think we accomplished those two goals.”
The Trojans enter the year needing to fill several key spots along its lines and Passinault felt his team showed promise in those areas.
“We’re a very raw, inexperienced team,” he said. “It showed at times. Those are all teachable moments that help us get our team better.
“Offensive and defensive line is a question mark for us. I think we made good strides tonight.”
St. Francis followed its scrimmage with Cheboygan by going up against the Trojans. In both instances the Gladiators looked stout defensively, though head coach Greg Vaughan tried to stick to the basics.
“Well, we came in pretty simple and just asked them to do a couple things on defense, get to the ball and get as many guys there as we possibly could,” he said. “I think we did a pretty good job of that, rallying to the ball, everyone getting to a pile. On offense our big thing was our ability to block and stick on those blocks. I think we did a good job of getting off and doing that. We didn’t throw it that much because we really wanted to hone in on making sure we could block. We just wanted to go back to the basics and make sure those are the things we can do because ultimately, if we can’t do those things, we’re not going to be very successful.”
All three teams are within a week away from their season openers. West plays first, traveling to Midland on Thursday night. Central opens its season next Friday at Marquette, while St. Francis hosts New Lothrop.