With two scrimmages under their belts, the Galion Football Tigers are now gearing up for their final preseason contest this Friday.
Galion takes on Shelby in a jamboree game scheduled to kick off at 6 p.m. Friday at Skiles Field.
The Tigers faced Fredericktown in the first preseason scrimmage on Aug. 12 and played host to Centerburg and New London last Saturday at Unckrich Stadium. Head coach Chris Hawkins said the Tigers appear to be improving with each passing week of training camp.
“Before watching the film, I think we took strides,” Hawkins said after the Saturday workout. “That’s the purpose of the scrimmages. I know some people wanna go win these, but we script plays and we stayed with our script mostly the first scrimmage. We went off it once because we were on the 4-yard line, but (Saturday) we didn’t go off the script at all.”
As with any preseason workout, Hawkins said the Tigers made some mistakes on offense which the coaching staff addressed with the team in the controlled teaching environment.
“Our first three plays out of our first 10, we messed up and then, of course, we go down in two plays and score,” he said. “I told our guys that’s what makes me so upset. We can’t afford to snap the ball and hit our butt, or our quarterback going the wrong way, or our running back miss a block, or a lineman forget his assignment. We can’t do that. We have enough talent on the field that every offensive play is a potential touchdown, but if we don’t get to run that play, that’s a possible six points that we’re not putting up on the board. We’re not where we need to be but we definitely took a step forward.”
Hawkins said the orange and blue showed improvement on the defensive side of the ball on Saturday compared to the first workout against the Freddies.
“I thought we played a lot better today than we did Wednesday,” he said. “We were scratching our heads after Wednesday’s scrimmage. But we tweaked a few things and I think with what we’re doing right now, the kids feel a little more comfortable and confident. They played better today, but because we made some adjustments, I think that’s gonna make us a little more sound.”
Another positive aspect of the two scrimmages, Hawkins said, is exposing his team to diverse styles, which will happen just about every week during the regular season.
“We faced a smash mouth, I-back coming at you, pound on you Fredericktown team and Centerburg runs the spread very well,” he said. “In New London, we kind of saw a mixture of everything. I thought we played well defensively, but we need to get more pressure from our front four or sending people. If we’re gonna put our guys on islands (on the corners), we’ve got to put more pressure on the quarterback.”
In Shelby, Hawkins said he sees a team similar in some ways to Bucyrus, whom the Tigers will meet in the opening game of the regular season on Aug. 28.
“(Shelby) has a quarterback who’s a stud,” Hawkins noted. “Not only can he hurt you with his arm, he can tuck it and hurt you with his feet. We faced (Shelby) in a 7-on-7 at Ashland this summer, but it’s a lot different when you’re playing with the guys up front coming at you. It’s going to be a great test. In these controlled scrimmages, we’ve been huddling and we’re not a huddle team, so this will be the first time we’re actually running our stuff. It’s definitely a warm-up game for us.”
Hawkins was referencing Whippets’ phenom Brennan Armstrong, who’s now a 6-foot-2 inch, 191-pound sophomore for Erik Will’s ballclub. Area football fans will remember Armstrong’s mind-boggling performance against Tiffin Columbian last season when he accounted for 520 total yards and nine touchdowns. The Tornadoes won the game, 83-82.
Andrew Carter can be reached at 419-468-1117, ext. 2048. Connect with him on Twitter @ACGalionSports.