Coaches looking for action in scrimmages

With the opening of football scrimmages last Friday, area football coaches are not necessarily looking at wins and losses but just a progression of how their teams are making in preparation for the football season ahead of them.

For Bay City Head Football Coach Pat Matthews, this season will really mark the first full season that he has had to leave his mark on this program and so far he likes what he is seeing out of his Blackcats.

“We are looking pretty good right now,” Matthews said. “We had a good off-season. The kids are practicing hard and as a coach that is one of things that you ask for and really want.”

This year is so much different for Matthews and his football program. Matthews comes into this season with a full coaching staff and a full off-season program to work with as opposed to last year when the first-year Bay City coach was taking over the program.

“This time last year we really didn’t have any idea about our kids,” Matthews said. “I was just hired and spent all summer trying to get a coaching staff and we had a few kids come to summer conditioning but we just didn’t have them all here. It took us a while to implement the new schemes and defenses, so it was really tough.

“It was a lot of change and a lot of moving parts for us,” Matthews said. “This year has been totally different as we have had time to prepare our kids. We know the kids and the kids know us and they know what our expectations are for them.”

Matthews knows as long as his Blackcats bring the effort on the practice field, his coaching staff can do the rest to get them ready for the season ahead.

“We can coach everything else but we can’t coach effort and they have to bring that every day on the football field,” Matthews said. Tidehaven Head Football Coach David Lucio heads into this season as a team that might be the hunted his year as opposed to last year when the Tigers were able to surprise some teams as they gained valuable experience on a young squad.

“We are looking pretty sharp,” Lucio said. “I wish are depth was a little better.”

Right now, Tidehaven has 25 players on the varsity roster and Lucio expects that number to climb to 30 before the start of the non-district season.

“We just want to see the kids compete,” Lucio said of the first scrimmage. “We want to see who is going to go hard and leave it out there on the field. We also have some battles on the offensive line that we want to see who is going to step up and win the battles up there.”

Lucio also expects to throw the ball a lot more in the scrimmages to see where the passing game is at for the Tigers.

“I want to see how well are receivers have developed with their route running,” Lucio said. “Blake (Garcia) is throwing the ball really well during the two-a-days and we want to see what our passing game is going to look like this year.”

Palacios Head Football Coach Chad Graves also is beginning his first full year at the helm of the program.

“We are further ahead then were we were last year,” Graves said. “It is a positive that we have 100 percent of our coaches back this year. We came in last year with new concepts and new schemes so coming into this year, we are ahead not only in teaching but understanding coaching-wise how we are working together.”

Graves took over the Palacios football position in February of 2017 and had to quickly get his offensive scheme in place for the Sharks last year.

“I am not too concerned about the score but I want to see how we are competing,” Graves said. “I want to see how physical that we are. We want to be the most physical team on the field on both sides of the ball. We want to get after it and mix it up. We want to see how we will all fit together and play fundamentally sound football and I want to see them get after it.”

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