Gridders take the field Saturday
It may not be “Friday Night Lights,” but area coaches hope it won't turn into “Saturday Morning Funnies,” either.
On Saturday, coaches and fans will get their first look at area teams in live contact against opponents when the first of two camp scrimmages are held.
All nine area teams will be in action at 10 a.m. with scrimmages that culminate the first week of camp.
Coaches and players alike look forward to finally hitting someone from another team.
“The first scrimmage is a barometer for the kids, but we also know some of them will be a little excited,” said veteran Monessen coach Andy Pacak. “It's always nice to hit somebody else who is not wearing a black shirt.”
With low numbers, Pacak has had to limit his team's hitting in practice to avoid injuries. He said he hopes nobody gets hurt Saturday when Monessen travels to Perryopolis to scrimmage Frazier.
“It's a funny situation because you definitely don't want to get anybody hurt, but you also have a number of freshmen and sophomores who you want to get out there and see what they can do,” Pacak said.
At Ringgold's Joe Montana Stadium, the Rams will work out against Baldwin.
New Ringgold coach Nick Milchovich said his staff and players are looking forward to the test.
“We had a good week of practice, and we're just looking ahead to hitting somebody else,” Milchovich said. “It's like anything else. We studied all week and now we want to see if we can pass the test.”
Milchovich said the Rams will keep things fairly basic Saturday, noting, “I think most teams through summer conditioning have most of their offense installed before camp starts. We won't do anything crazy. On defense, we will stay pretty much in our base just so we can see what some kids can do.”
Other scrimmages scheduled for Saturday are:
• Belle Vernon Area going to Central Valley.
• Charleroi hosting Beth-Center.
• California going to Chartiers-Houston for a tri-scrimmage with Springdale.
• Yough at Laurel Highlands.
• Elizabeth Forward at McGuffey.
• Bentworth going to Wilkinsburg for a tri-scrimmage with Westinghouse.
Along with Ringgold, three schools will debut new head coaches. BVA is led by former Ringgold coach Matt Humbert. Charleroi is guided by former Gateway coach Donnie Militzer. At Bentworth, Ron Skiles is back for his third turn at coaching the Bearcats.
Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or firstname.lastname@example.org.