GREENVILLE – Greenville was full of energy on Tuesday in knocking off Celina 18-12 at Harmon Field in the first football scrimmage of the season.
The Green Wave made plays both offensively and defensively at all levels, according to head coach Aaron Shaffer.
“We made some plays today, but there are things we have to get better at which is always the case after a first scrimmage,” Shaffer said. “We have to get lined up right and communicate better. We are now into the second layer of offense and defense so you have to be able to identify where you are at and know who you have to line up on.
“There are some things we have been working on that are a little bit new and fresh to the kids,” he continued. “They may not be the easiest or most repped things we have done, but at the end of the day I thought today’s scrimmage was really good for us.”
The first half of the scrimmage each team ran several series of 10 scripted plays per set. They then played several possession each of down and distance style. Neither team found the end zone until Celina broke a long run on the last play of the scripted series portion of the scrimmage. But Greenville opened the down and distance part with a long drive that ended in a 1-yard touchdown plunge by Landon Eldridge. A huge acrobatic catch by Ethan Flannery helped keep the drive alive deep in Celina territory and set up the Green Wave’s first score.
A few possessions later, Celina struck again on a near 70-yard run to take the lead, but again Greenville answered when Ethan Saylor broke his own 65-yard touchdown run to tie it up at 12-12. On its last offensive possession, Greenville’s freshman group scored a touchdown when D.J. Zimmer caught a pass from Jake Barr in the end zone for the lead and eventual win.
“We want to try and be as balanced as we can be,” Shaffer said. “With what we do offensively you really have to account for three backs as our quarterback becomes a third running back. I feel like we have a pretty good crew of wide receivers out there that can go make plays too, so it’s good to see us score on a long run, a short run and with a pass. That’s good stuff.
“(Celina) came in running that dive option stuff and it takes minute to get your feet under you on defense,” he continued. “We can’t replicate in practice what they do based on how they do it. Our defense has seen our offense all through camp, but I thought once we got settled down and started to see what it was and the speed of it I thought we played OK. They had the one long run, so we just have to work on forcing the edge a little better and turning things back inside. I thought we tackled pretty good today. I don’t think we had very many missed tackles and I felt like we ran to the ball pretty well. When we were missing guys it wasn’t due to tackling, it was more for the course or angle we were taking to the ball carrier. Those are all things that come as you continue to rep at speed.”
Celina had one final chance to tie the scrimmage, but Alex Baumgardner got the inside position in coverage and ended that threat just a few plays into the drive when he intercepted a pass to end the game.
“That was a really nice play,” Shaffer said of Baumgardner’s pick. “It’s great to see those young guys out there flying around. The ball was a little under thrown but he had great coverage. It’s always fun to see those young guys get to make a play out there because high school football can be a little unnerving for a freshman. To be able to come out and make a play like that to end a scrimmage is nice for him.
“All in all I’m pretty pleased with the way we played today,” he continued. “I thought we came out with some energy and that’s what you want in the first scrimmage against somebody else. We were better today than we were on Saturday (intrasquad scrimmage) and that is the goal. Be better each day. We’ll practice the next couple days and come back for another scrimmage on Friday and see where we are at.”
The Green Wave will host Coldwater in a scrimmage at 10 a.m. on Friday.
The Daily Advocate sports editor Skip Weaver can be reached at (937) 569-4316 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow him on Twitter at @skipweaver65.