With the start of the regular season just one week from commencing, Week 0 is an opportunity for local football teams and their players to get back into the swing of things with some live-game action. Perennial Class A District 6 contenders Lynnville-Sully hosted the visiting Tigerhawks of Colfax-Mingo on Friday night, Aug. 23, for some tune-up football in the form of a scrimmage.
The scrimmages don’t count toward the season, and the schools don’t even keep score, but judging by the sea of vehicles lining the Sully streets, it’s clear that the fervor for football has already returned. Although the games don’t count yet, both coaches saw this as a useful opportunity to work through some kinks on both sides of the ball.
“I think we’re about 75 percent of the way there,” Tigerhawks’ first-year coach Jeff Lietz said. “We found out some areas we needed to tighten up. They’re a heck of a football team, so that was a good chance for our guys to see where they are.”
“This was really rewarding for both sides,” Lynnville-Sully headman Mike Parkinson added. “The kids had a lot of fun. We’re going to need a lot of preparation this next week of practice, but it’s good to see the guys compete against another squad.
Parkinson sounded pleased with his team’s performance, and by all accounts there’s no reason he shouldn’t be. The Hawks were particularly impressive on the defensive side of the ball, where their team speed forced Colfax-Mingo into some turnovers, including a 60-plus yard interception return for a touchdown by TJ Cunningham.
“The guys have a really good mentality, but I think the biggest thing for us is our team speed,” Parkinson noted. “They were physical. They flew around to the ball.”
For the Tigerhawks, Lietz saw this as an opportunity for a young squad to get some game-action against stiff competition. There were plenty of starting spots up for grabs heading into Friday, but it sounds as if everything is set for the Tigerhawks’ matchup with Saydel on Friday.
“Everyone played up to my expectations of them. The defense — after the first series — really settled in and played well. The offense started slow, but we started to come on a little bit at the end of the game,” Lietz said. “We need to work on getting things going more fluidly offensively, but the offensive line did a good job of picking up blitzes. We were mainly looking to solidify some starting spots, and I think we’re ready to go now.”
The Tigerhawks had an up-and-down 2012, but opening with a fresh start against the often-maligned Eagles could start the season off with a bang.
As for the Hawks, they have a very difficult matchup on Friday when they head to Pella Christian for what should be a very tight affair.
“This scrimmage was a good precursor to what we’re going to face in Pella Christian,” Parkinson said. “It’s going to take a lot of preparation this week to get ready for that team. They are always well-coached, so we’ve got our work cut out for us. If we can get a little bit sharper with the fundamentals and shore up some things on the offensive line, we should be ready to go.”
Both Colfax-Mingo and Lynnville-Sully open the season on the road. The Tigerhawks’ game is against Class 3A District 4 rival Saydel. Both games start at 7 p.m.