Last scrimmages for Cavs, Jags
Eight varsity football squads from around the eastern half of North Carolina gathered for the Harnett County Jamboree at Triton Friday night. Playing in 50-minute scrimmages and trading 10-play possessions, Southern Lee’s offensive series were decidedly noticeable as the Cavaliers lined up against Overhills and Harnett Central.
Each Cavalier possession went, and was done, faster than the others.
Most of the Cavalier offense was well-run, some, during the preseason tune-up a week before the season kicks off, resulted in mistakes or a misfire.
Under new head coach Don Simon, and a no-huddle, spread offense, the Cavs rushed to the line of scrimmage and new quarterback Emond Caldwell took another snap, almost entirely shotgun snaps, as quickly as possible.
“I certainly proud of our effort. We went up against two large 4A schools and I thought we played both of them pretty tough,” Simon said.
“We’ll go back and watch the film and we’ll get better as we have a chance to see what’s going on,” he said, “but this was good competition for us tonight and we needed it.”
Southern Lee, Overhills, Harnett Central, Triton and Western Harnett all were making the Jamboree their last scrimmage action before starting the regular season Friday night.
Overhills, now realigned into 4A and the Mid-South Athletic Conference after being a tri-champion of the 3A Cape Fear Valley last fall, is starting out under new head coach Rodney Barr.
“We’re in a great position to continue to grow and build this program as a group,” Barr said.
The Jaguars, 7-5 overall last season, won five straight games to earn a share of the conference crown and reach the second round of the state playoffs. Barr is taking over for Tim Karrs, who led the Jaguars for the program’s first eight years.
“One thing I’ve told the kids is we’re not taking anything away from the positives of the past. Our main goal is to build on that,” Barr said.
Barr said Karrs has been a tremendous help making the transition, both for the new coach and returning Jaguars, easier.
Both starting quarterbacks turned in exciting plays during the Cavalier vs. Jaguar scrimmage. Caldwell, a junior, made good decisions in Southern Lee’s new quick-hitting passing game and, on a broken play and scramble, dashed for a 40-yard touchdown.
Tylo Rogers, a slim but fast 5-foot-11 junior for the Jaguars, showed his running ability and a good arm, connecting mostly with wide receiver/running back Quincy Ridley and tight end/slot receiver Chanler Renna.
Southern Lee’s defense was fast in its own way, too. After Overhills drove to the 1-yard line on one series late in the session, the Cavs made a stand, stuffing a running play up the middle for a 4-yard loss, then getting a sack and fumble on the next snap.
“We’re heads and tails ahead of where I thought we’d be at this point,” said Simon.
The real, official measuring stick for the Cavaliers, as they try to improve on last season’s 2-9 record, and most of the high school football squads across the state, starts Friday night. Southern Lee will travel to Western Harnett for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff. Overhills will host Pinecrest at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Harnett Central will travel to face Apex at 7:30 p.m. and Triton will host Cape Fear at 7:30 p.m.