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By Jason Avery

News-Times Staff

Saturday marks the first day teams can don full pads, and Parkers Chapel will be wasting no time by conducting a scrimmage in their morning practice.

For Parkers Chapel coach Jacob Midyett and his players, this is a day they have looked forward to.

“Absolutely,” Midyett said. “Any time you get to go full pads and play the game the way it’s supposed to be played, it’s exciting. We had a lot of 7-on-7’s and team camps where you get teased a little bit because it’s football, but it’s not really football. It’s never really a true sport until you get to tackle and go all the way to the ground. There’s no, ‘I would’ve juked you there,’ or ‘You wouldn’t have tackled me.’ It’s there. Either you tackle him or you don’t. It’s the way it’s supposed to be played, and it’s exciting.”

As far as expectations for the scrimmage are concerned, Midyett said he is looking to see progress from his younger players.

“Obviously, you always want to see your younger kids start picking it up a little bit,” Midyett said. “The sophomores are still kind of swimming and getting used to playing senior high. It’s a little faster and more physical, so you want to see them get a little confidence and make a few plays. Overall, it’s everybody. We’re two weeks away from our scrimmage, and that’s going to be when we start setting depth charts going into the first game, so it’s definitely a good evaluation for everybody.”

The Trojans worked on tackling in their practices with shells on Thursday and Friday.

“We incorporated some more tackling drills,” Midyett said. “We picked it up a little bit. Hopefully, we can go the rest of the way tomorrow.”

With the Trojans scrimmaging today, Midyett said Friday’s practice was lighter.

“It went pretty good,” Midyett said. “It was a little lighter day for us because tomorrow is the first day we can get into full pads, so we’re going to have a scrimmage-type practice. It was almost like a walk-through. We shortened things down and just did team stuff instead of individual drills.”

Like Smackover, Parkers Chapel is participating in the Hooten’s Kickoff Classic at Southern Arkansas University, and the Trojans will have a quick turnaround by taking on Lafayette County later that week.

With two games is such a short time span, Midyett said the coaching staff has to find a way to properly juggle recuperation with preparation.

“Obviously, we’ll have to be a little creative with the way we do things,” Midyett said. “We’re obviously not going to be able to do a normal week. We have less days, and we can’t go through the same type of formats. We can’t take the next day off or the weekend off and start practicing on Monday.

“We’re going to have to play on Monday and turn around that Tuesday and begin practicing. We’re going to have to get creative with recovering and things like that, but in the same sense, a lot of schools play two games in one week.

“A lot of the JV kids at bigger schools will play on Monday and still get the same reps on Friday, so we’re not the first team to ever do this.

“Obviously with senior high, it’s a little different because they’re going to be playing two real games instead of JV games, but we’re conditioning right now for that.

“Our first goal is to play a complete game against Fouke, and then turn around and play another one that same week. We’re going to have to change a few things, but overall, it’s going to have to be split up a little bit.”

With the Trojans set to conclude their first week, Midyett said he is happy with where things stand.

“I think it’s been a good week,” Midyett said. “Monday wasn’t what we hoped it would be, but Tuesday was really, really good. I think between last year and this year, that was probably our best practice to date. It was fun to be there.

“The big thing last year for us was having that really good day, and then the next day was really bad. It wasn’t where we wanted it, but it definitely wasn’t taking a step back like we did last year at times. I see it as a sign of progress. I think we’re going in the right direction. I think we had a good first week.”

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