Five days before the beginning of the high school football season in Central New York, Fayetteville-Manlius and Jamesville-DeWitt visited Baldwinsville for a scrimmage.
These three teams saw this as nothing more than a practice, but knew that it was very important to play just as hard as they will on Friday nights. It was the first time that the players faced something other than their own team’s playbook and would highlight the flaws in the gameplan.
For the players, it was an opportunity to improve individually and collectively, as the veterans could set the tone for the entire season and the first-year guys could get an idea of what it means to play football at this level.
The coaches gave second offenses and defenses time to improve. They made sure that all of their players were engaged in what was happening on the field, even when they were on the sideline.
And the sidelines were engaged and made noise whenever their team made a play. For F-M, the captains were keeping the sideline noisy, whether they were on or off the field.
Andrew Testani was one of the captains who made sure that nobody was quiet at any point in the game. Looking back on the game, Testani said, “that was definitely the most high-energy scrimmage I’ve had in my three years here. We played like a team and flew to the ball on defense.”
That’s what defensive coordinator Dan Conley has been instilling in his players since day one. Conley, who is heading into his second season with the Hornets, demands that 11 guys rush to the ball on every play.
F-M’s quarterback, Mikey Porter, was pleased with the way that the offense performance and said that it was a lot of what he and head coach Paul Muench expected it to be. “We came out on the first drive on a script. We had plays we wanted to run and we ran them,” said Porter, “the second drive was more like a game. Coach called plays that he knew would work and we moved the ball well.’
Porter reminded us that he won’t allow himself or anybody else to be satisfied with this performance, but is happy with the progress that they have made. “I thought we looked good. We play well together. We have a lot to improve on, but, for week two, we are in very good shape, and we are excited to see what we can do.”
But, throughout the day, the coaches were constantly reminding players that it’s extremely valuable to get to scrimmage good teams like J-D and Baldwinsville.
Baldwinsville faces Corning in the Kickoff Classic at the Carrier Dome on Aug. 31 and then F-M opens up at Corcoran as J-D hosts Carthage on Sept. 1.