Area football teams getting ready for scrimmages

PITCH AND CATCH: Pine River quarterback Skyler Nelson gets set to make a pitchout during a Bucks practice on Friday. (Herald Review photo/John Raffel)
PITCH AND CATCH: Pine River quarterback Skyler Nelson gets set to make a pitchout during a Bucks practice on Friday. (Herald Review photo/John Raffel)

Area football teams get their first big test with scrimmages this week for a warm up to the season opener.

All three teams are entering their second week of practices. They started putting on pads Aug. 9.

EVART

“We’ve reiterated what we did at team camp this summer,” said coach Pat Craven. “We worked on a lot of technique. We’re starting to get at it offensively and defensively.”

Offensively, Devon VanOrder returns at tackle along with Jake Mckinstry at center and Chapman Long at tight end. Austin Grein and John Danley return to the backfield.

VanOrder and Larry VanBuren plus Robert Burge return to the defense. In the backfield, also back are Danley and Jacob Hopkins.

On Thursday, the Wildcats will scrimmage at St. Louis against the host school, Meridian and Tawas.

“It will be a pretty good scrimmage,” Craven said. “Sanford Meridian and Tawas are playoff teams. It’s a good early test for us. We’re trying to get better every day.”

PINE RIVER

The numbers will be a challenging factor for the Bucks who have around 20 on their varsity team.

“We’ve been working on the fundamentals and implementing our offensive schemes,” Pine River coach Chad Phillips said.

Pine River’s scrimmage is Friday at Mancelona at the host school, Frankfort and Grayling.

“We also tell our guys we don’t have any starters until we go up and scrimmage,” Phillips said. “You need to see where you’re at when you go up against good competition and hit somebody else. We want to find out who’s going to be able to play and who will start in game one.”

Avoiding injuries will be critical, Phillips noted. “There’s not many gimmes on our schedule this year,” Phillips said. “Our non-conference schedule is tough.”

REED CITY

The kickoff to the opener Aug. 24 at Big Rapids is drawing near and the Reed City Coyotes have been exceptionally busy. “We’ve been implementing our offense and defense and special teams schemes,” Reed City coach Monty Price said, “and working on fundamentals and techniques to execute those schemes properly. We’ve come a long way. I’d say we’re ahead of schedule from where we were last year.

“The kids are working hard and the attitudes have been good. They’re picking it up quick and doing a heckuva job.

The Coyotes will be scrimmaging 6 p.m. Thursday at Montague.

“We want to go and find out where we’re at,” Price said. “In my opinion, we have one of the toughest scrimmages for Class B and C in the state with Montague and Muskegon Catholic Central and Shelby there. We’ll get a real test.”