EVART — He has 17 players on his varsity roster this season, and Evart football coach Pat Craven wants his team to stay as healthy as possible.

His Wildcats will get their first test of the season at a three-way scrimmage on Thursday.

“I think things went very well,” Craven said of the first week of practice. “Our kids are working hard and are (very intense). I was pleased with the progress that was made.”

Craven wants to accomplish plenty in week two of practice.

“We have to continue to get better in all areas of the game,” he said. “We’re trying to locate more positions on the offensive and defensive front. We’re focusing on that. Other than that, we’re doing finishing touches on the offensive and defensive playbooks.”

Evart will scrimmage at Meridian Thursday and play the host school, St. Louis and Tawas.

“We’ve been scrimmaging with those three teams for about 10 years,” Craven said. “Usually, Meridian is one of the top teams in the Jack Pine Conference. They give us a good spread look and a real in-your-face defensive look, which is good for our kids. Tawas has been fairly tough the last decade. St. Louis is an option team and we can work on that. We like our scrimmage and have a good working relationship with those coaches.”

Craven said most of his team’s positions are locked up.

“We have three or four spots where we’re still looking at kids,” he said. “We don’t have a lot of options with just 17 kids. We have to get kids ready regardless. Our kids have to be ready to play and have to be prepared. That goes back on our coaching staff. We have to take what we have and get them ready to play if we want to be competitive.”

Staying healthy to compete for league title and playoffs is essential, Craven agreed.

“I’m sure nobody will feel sorry for ole Evart. We have to be ready to do what we need to do,” he said.