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Hey, get ready! August is just around the corner

Spring football has ended. The equipment from it and any other sport is up by now and any activity in the athletic department is in preparation for the next school year.  
Really that is what last Friday night was all about, preparation for August.
The scrimmage Friday evening was what it was. It was a scrimmage between an offense and a defense. Unlike in college or the pros, it was not totally the No. 1 offense versus the No. 1 defense for that is not possible at a Class AA high school. Do realize the entirety of either unit on the field against the remainders and it would be ugly.
“We did have the personnel divided up to create as much of a competitive atmosphere as we could get,” said SCHS head coach Ron Duncan. “There were several starters playing on the opposite side the ball.”  
Not to raise any kind of false hopes, but I thought things looked pretty good Friday night. I left Kelly Memorial Stadium with a good feeling. This time a year ago, after watching our two-week version of the spread offense, I left with a kind of “OK, this is what we are going to do. Hopefully, it will get better by the time we open the season.”
For a time, things were very competitive.  
The No. 1 offense, as it was, went straight down the field against the No. 1 defense, as it was, on the night’s first possession. Then for a quarter the defense dominated. Three consecutive three-and-outs helped that (with the adapted spring game scoring system, three-and-outs were worth three points for the defense).
At the half the defense was up 35-30.  
During halftime, we were asked to flip the scoreboard so that the Red (defense) could be the home team as that is the way it is on a normal Friday night. I had made the offense the home team because they scored first. Unfortunately for the defense, they never scored again. No turnovers (worth 6 points), no sacks (3 points), no three-and-outs, no just plain stops (1 point), etc.
A year ago the defense chased quarterbacks all over the place, recording several sacks, creating numerous turnovers, and shutting down the running game. Remember there was that shotgun snap we had not perfected yet, and again, for cautionary purposes, we were just two weeks into a new offense.
But, we passed better Friday night from under center using numerous types of play-action than we ever did last spring. Obviously, we ran the ball a lot better as well. We just plain executed better.
By the middle of the fourth quarter, the junior varsity players were in and the count was 65-35 in favor of the offense (white) and the clock ran and the score stopped. There was a turnover on the last play of the scrimmage not included.
Take from this and what transpired Friday what you want. I am excited again.  
Duncan says he was pleased, but knows that there is a lot of work to do. I know that too.  
It was two weeks’ worth of offense and two weeks’ worth of defense.
But coaches are saying how much better things went for these two weeks than the same two weeks of 2013.  
Heck, there were several key players who, for one reason or another, participated very little or not at all Friday evening.
There is a lot of work to do between now and the regular season opener on Saturday, Aug. 23, when the Islanders of St. Johns, S.C., come to town. But I promise I think that there is a lot more to look forward to this time around.  

Burton Kemp Jr. is a contributing writer to the Sylvania Telephone.