Different coaches look for different things when their teams take the field for the first set of preseason scrimmages, which begin this weekend around West Virginia.
Poca’s Seth Ramsey, like a lot of coaches, comes in with a short game plan when his Dots host Clay County at 10 a.m. Saturday at O.O. White Stadium. Teams can hold their first scrimmages either Friday or Saturday.
“We usually script about 10, 15 plays that we want to rep, that we want to see,’’ Ramsey said. “If we’ve got this one guy, we want to get him two or three carries. This other guy, we want to get him the ball outside two or three times and see what he can do.
“We’ll try to get people some work, get in some live action against outside competition. Not necessarily to get the rust off them, but to get them acclimated to game conditions and game speed.’’
Ramsey said scrimmages can be beneficial for both veteran players and newcomers alike.
“When you’re practicing, going against the same guy you see every day,’’ he said, “you want to get out there against somebody else. The guys who have been here a while, it gets you amped up a little bit, juiced up some. You’ve got some other [inexperienced] guys, and for them you want to see how they react to outside competition, and how they react to the pressure of competition, that sort of thing.’’
Poca is coming off a 9-2 record that earned the program its first playoff berth since 2010. The Dots return plenty of offensive firepower from that squad, including leading rusher Ethan Payne, quarterback Jay Cook and versatile receiver Toby Payne. Their presence has allowed Ramsey and his coaching staff to begin the season ahead of where they were last year.
“We’ve really kind of picked up the pace a whole lot this year,’’ Ramsey said. “We’ve got a lot of guys back, especially at the skill positions, who have been there for a while.’’
The Dots, however, will be without speedy senior Owen McClanahan, a top rusher and receiver last season, who suffered a torn ACL in June.
Three Kanawha Valley teams open their scrimmage schedules on Friday. Sissonville joins Nicholas County at South Charleston for some preseason work at 5 p.m., and Man visits George Washington at 6:30.
The rest of the Valley’s squads will get in their work on Saturday:
n At 10 a.m., Hurricane visits Parkersburg South, Winfield hosts Roane County and four teams meet in Nitro — Class AAA Riverside and Morgantown lock up with Class AA Herbert Hoover and Nitro.
n At 11 a.m., Capital is at Princeton and St. Albans visits Independence.
n At 7 p.m., Buffalo hosts Ritchie County.
Teams around the state stage their second round of scrimmages the weekend of Aug. 23-24, with the Mountain State Athletic Conference holding its final Grid-o-rama at University of Charleston Stadium on both of those days. The MSAC will discontinue the format after this season. The Cardinal Conference Grid is set for Aug. 24 at Scott, starting at 9 a.m.
Regular-season games can begin on Monday, Aug. 26, with the bulk of the contests scheduled for the weekend of Aug. 29-31.