Cavs, Jags prep at Harnett Jamboree

Aug. 14, 2014 @ 05:01 AM

A pair of head coaches entering their second seasons with their high school football squads were pleased, energized even, following what they saw at the rain-shortened Harnett County Jamboree Tuesday evening at Triton High School.

Southern Lee head coach Don Simon said going full-contact against opponents gave him more proof his Cavaliers are ahead of where they were last year at this point.

"I'm happy all the way around with (the scrimmages). The guys were very competitive on both sides, offensively and defensively," Simon said.

For Overhills, it was the second scrimmage in two nights after they traveled to St. Pauls Monday night. The Jaguars' second-year head coach Rodney Barr said his team is likewise ahead of where they were heading into last season.

"It's my second year, so the kids know me a lot better and I know the kids a lot better," Barr said, along with saying the familiarity of Xs and Os offensively and defensively, as the Jaguars keep learning his spread offensive for example, is a big improvement.

The Cavaliers and the Jaguars finished up going head to head in a scrimmage session and were done for the jamboree when the rain came and thunderstorms followed. Western Harnett got a few series in against Southeast Raleigh before having to leave the field. The host Hawks only got to warm up and the rest of the night was called off before getting into action.

The Cavaliers had their whole roster get a good number of snaps, said Simon, who was pleased with the first two groups on both sides of the ball.

"A lot of it is about buying into our system, about buying into the discipline," he said. "Now there's a different mindset and I think the guys know this is our group now."

The Cavaliers are working to improve on a 3-8 overall mark and a 2-4 Cape Fear Valley record in Simon's first season. While this is his second season about to get underway, it's his first full offseason with the Cavs.

"It's the playbook, the attitude, the effort, the whole total package. I feel a lot better with where we are at this point. The underclassmen are all stepping up and working hard and with everything they've put in, I'm very proud of them," said Simon.

Getting into "football shape" is the biggest key about scrimmaging on back-to-back nights for Barr.

"We've been able to be in shoulder pads (per NCHSAA preseason practice rules) only three days so far," Barr said, "having the pads on and having contact is a lot different than going with no pads and no contact."

Along with a coaching change, Overhills moved from class 3A to 4A, and its first year in the Mid-State Athletic Conference, last year while going 2-9 overall and 0-6 in league.

The Jaguars are done with the scrimmage schedule. Overhills starts its regular season at Pinecrest Aug. 22. Pinecrest beat the Jaguars 35-14 on last season's opening Friday.

Southern Lee has one more scrimmage to prep with - at Cavalier Stadium versus Hoke County at 6 p.m. Friday. The Cavaliers will open the next Friday night hosting rival Western Harnett, who the Cavs topped 23-6 in Simon's debut contest last August.