High school football made its return Friday as Mount Airy hosted local schools for 7-on-7 drills.
East Surry, North Surry and Surry Central took part in the drills along with Forbush and Davidson Day.
Official practices kick off Monday, but players have been working out at their schools all summer. Scrimmages like these give the players a chance to pit their skills against someone other than their teammates.
Rather than a full 11-man lineup, the offenses used a center, quarterback and five skill players (halfback, fullback, tight end or receiver). Defenses used linebackers and defensive backs.
Offenses ran through scripts of plays with the ball spotted back at the 40-yard line for each hike.
Danny Lyons moved up from offensive line coach to head coach of North Surry this offseason. He said the team went to West Stokes on Tuesday for its first drills, and the team looked much better Friday.
“It was a pretty drastic improvement,” Lyons said. The players put out a lot of effort and showed better understanding of their roles.
“As a coaching staff that’s all you can ask for,” he said.
East Surry’s David Diamont noticed the difference, too.
“We started against North Surry,” Diamont said of the drills. “They made major strides from Tuesday. They played really well against us. We did some good things, but not enough.”
Lyons said the Greyhounds’ defense was better.
“Our quarterbacks Austin Handy and Ashton Simmons threw the ball better,” he noted. Safety Corbin Utt was alert and picked off five passes on the night. Weston Angel provided a physical presence on the corner, and outside linebacker Josh Cox looked good in space.
Diamont said his Cardinals began slowly against the Hounds.
“We played much better against Forbush, and then we played much better than that against Mount Airy,” he said.
The Cards gave repetitions to a lot of different people so they could gain experience, he said.
The coach saw some good things from QB John Dickenson. Casey Marion, normally a linebacker, got some snaps, too, and could serve as emergency QB if John got hurt, he added.
“Keanu Love made a good one-handed grab against Mount Airy that got us excited a little bit,” he noted.
Surry Central went with a two-quarterback platoon last year with Colby Chilton and Jesse Martin.
Chilton returns this fall, and could continue to platoon as Coach Monty Southern gave plenty of reps to lefthander Kenyon Martin.
Last season, Wes Brown played both running back and defensive end. On Friday he spent time at outside linebacker where he could either pressure a QB or cover slot receivers.
As the host school, the Bears had plenty of cleanup work at the end of the night, and Coach Kelly Holder was unavailable for comment at press time.
Diamont said the Cards will hold Midnight Madness as usual to kick off the official start of practice. Players and fans will gather at the stadium Sunday night with practice beginning at 12:01 a.m. Monday.
Reach Jeff Linville firstname.lastname@example.org or at 719-1920.