The Athens Review
Athens head coach Paul Essary left last Friday’s football scrimmage against Wills Point pleased with where his team is at this point in the preseason.
Athens outpointed Wills Point in the opening scrimmage, 4-1, with three of the scores coming from the first-team unit.
Athens' second-team unit added another score.
“We were pleased with the intensity of our kids,” Essary said. “We were pleased with where we are at right now and we thought they executed real well for the first time out.”
With a short week this week leading up to the final scrimmage on Thursday night, he said the players are ready for the Chapel Hill Bulldogs.
The freshman and junior varsity will lead off the action at 5 p.m., with the varsity to follow around 7:15 p.m. at Bruce Field.
“We will do the No. 1 offenses with 15 plays each, followed by the No. 2’s for 12 plays each, then back to the No. 1’s for 12 and No. 2’s for 10. We will then do a 10-minute break and then have two live quarters of game like situations. The kicking game will be dead.”
Essary said with the short practice week, his team is focused for it’s final test before the season opens next Friday night hosting Kaufman. Game time for the opener is set for 7:30 p.m.
“The kids worked real hard and I think we will be ready,” Essary said. “We have to keep in perspective that this is just a scrimmage and a practice game. We are still trying to find two-or-three spots on offense and two-or-three spots on defense.”
Chapel Hill comes into the scrimmage following a 3-7 season last year under head coach Thomas Sitton.
The Bulldogs return quarterback Andrew Black — who was a 1,070 passer with 12 touchdowns — and running back Joseph Clark.
Essary said Thursday night’s scrimmage will be a good test for the Hornets.
“They are an excellent team and they are ranked No. 23 in the state for a good reason,” Essary said. “They will be fast and are well coached and they will be ready. It will be a good test to see where we are at this time.”
Currently, the Hornets coaching staff is still looking at key positions from seniors down to the under classmen on the team.
Essary said leadership is starting to show up and down the lineup.
“We tell them that they can all be leaders. We have some good senior leadership with those five guys that are coming back for their third year of varsity,” Essary said. “We have some other good quality people and athletes out on the field that are showing great leadership ability.”
Athens looks to bounce back for a 4-7 bi-district playoff season in 2012.