The Aaron Stepp Era of Harrison County football got off to a solid start last Friday as the Breds scored on their first offensive play from scrimmage in a 18-0 win over host Nicholas County in both teams first pre-season scrimmage of the year.
The Breds went on defense first in the 10-play opening sequence and held the Bluejackets out of the end zone.
Taking over on their own 30 yard line for its 10 play possession, Harrison County wasted no time in showing the Thorobred faithful what the 2008 offense would look like.
With four wide receivers spread across the field, quarterback Van Isaac took a shotgun snap from center, shuffled back three steps and connected with a pass to Aaron Newby.
The senior receiver broke two tackles and rambled the rest of the way into the end zone for an easy touchdown.
That was a good way to get things started, but anybody who saw the scrimmage saw that after that, we had that deer in the headlights look for the next little bit in the scrimmage, said Stepp of the Breds easy first score. Right after that TD we started doing things that we had not done in practice to that point missing assignments, lining up wrong, missing blocks, missing tackles.
Harrison County continued to move the ball through the rest of that opening possession, and again in the second varsity 10-play sequence, but did not find the end zone again until later in the scrimmage.
After that quick opening score, Isaac was sacked and hurried several times by the bigger, stronger Nicholas County front line. The Breds still moved the ball, but not with much consistency.
Nicholas County was a real good test for us, Stepp said on Monday. That is a team that will win 7 or 8 games this year. I dont think well see many teams on our schedule that will have the size and strength of their offensive and defensive lines.
As the scrimmage wore on, Harrison County showed more and more consistency on both sides of the ball.
Our line play will be the key to how well we do on both sides of the ball and I thought that showed improvement as the scrimmage wore on, said first-year line coach Glen Brinker after the scrimmage. We just have to use good technique and play smart against these teams that are bigger than us.
After a JV period in the scrimmage where neither team scored, the two varsity squads took the field again, this time in a couple of down-and-distance periods.
Defensively, Harrison County used its superior team speed to swarm to the ball and shut down the Bluejackets offense. Offensively, that same speed led to two more long scores for the Breds.
I was really pleased that we got better as the scrimmage went along, and thats what you want to see as a coach, Stepp said. I think it will be a common theme for us this year, our speed matched against our opponents size and strength.
Harrison Countys last two scores came on long pass plays from Isaac to junior wide receiver Malcolm Thomas, with each play covering 50 or more yards.
Thomas caught every pass thrown in his direction during the scrimmage, including a nice diving catch early on for a 10-yard gain. He also thwarted a Nicholas County possession with an interception along the left sideline, where he simply out-ran the ball and gathered in the pass.
Stepp said on Monday that the Breds came out of the scrimmage unscathed, as far as injuries are concerned.
We are probably as healthy right now as we have been since the beginning of practice in mid-July, he said. We are starting to get some key people back for us that have been out for a little bit. Hopefully we will be at full strength when the regular season opens in a couple of weeks.
* * * * *
Harrison County will take on East Jessamine in its second, and final, pre-season scrimmage tomorrow night at Dunbar High School in Lexington. The scrimmage is set to begin at 6 p.m. and will be a different kind of test for the Thorobreds.
This scrimmage will give us an indication of how we will stack up against a team that is more similar to us, said Stepp. Nicholas County was bigger than usa match-up of size versus speed. East Jessamine isnt nearly as big as Nicholas County, but is much quicker and faster. Its just the kind of match-up we need to have before we start the regular season.
Admission for the scrimmage will be $5 per person, with no coaches cards or other passes accepted at the gate.
* * * * *
Next Saturday, Harrison County will open regular season play against Fleming County in the first game of the Recreation Bowl at Montgomery County High School in Mt. Sterling, with kick-off set at 5:30 p.m.
The second game will feature host Montgomery County taking on Clark County and will begin at 8.
No coaches cards or other passes will be accepted at the Recreation Bowl. Admission will be $7 per person.
* * * * *
Harrison Countys home opener against Clark County on Sept. 5 will be designated as the Harrison County Football Alumni Association Hall of Fame Game.
As in the past several years, the HCFAA will present a Player of the Game trophy to one player from each team, as well as team trophies to the winner and loser after the game.
The HCFAA will also have a hospitality tent set up in the south end zone for all members of the association.