Pine, Varnado and Mt. Hermon begin 2013 campaign Thursday

Published 7:23 am Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Four teams are heading to Pine tomorrow for a jamboree as clubs make their final preparations for the regular season, which begins next week.

Tomorrow’s action kicks off at 6 p.m. with Varnado playing Northlake Christian School. The second game features the host school Pine going against Mt. Hermon.

Teams will play a pair of 12-minute quarters.

Last week Varnado hosted a scrimmage with Mt. Hermon and Bogalusa.

Coach Scott Shaffett, who enters his second season with the Wildcats after a 1-8 finish last year, said NCS quarterback Josh O’Rear is experienced and has been there before.

“He can throw and run. He does a good job of leading their offense,” Shaffett said. “I also feel good about us. We’ve come a long way this summer, but we still have some fine tuning to do. Hopefully we’ll take what we did in the scrimmage against Bogalusa and Mt. Hermon, correct our mistakes and get better at what we did right.”

Shaffett said his pulling guards, Kyle Slocum and Donnell Peters, have been the biggest surprises up to this point.

“They have good feet for linemen,” Shaffett said. “They’re more aggressive than last year. They can move. What I like is, when they pull, they are looking to hit somebody. They’re not just pulling to get in the way.”

Northlake Christian enters 2013 after a 5-4 regular season. The Wolverines made the regional round of the Class 2-A playoffs before bowing out against Springfield, 32-19.

NCS scrimmaged Ascension Catholic last week. Anthony Agresta enters his seventh year at Northlake Christian and fifth as the head coach.

“Our thoughts are to correct mistakes we made in our scrimmage,” Agresta said of the upcoming jamboree. “Whatever needs to be corrected from the scrimmage needs to be taken care of.”

O’Rear leads NCS’ multiple offense. The running backs are Taylor Mussachia, Jordan Rider and Miguel Black.

Agresta said they have a host of wide receivers. The main guys are Matt Miller, Stefon McElveen, Riley DiMaggio and Zach Odenwald.

Agresta said his top defenders are inside linebacker Adam Riché along with defensive ends Gary Sampson and Riley Risher.

The second game features a regular season matchup, as Pine and Mt. Hermon, who play in District 8-2A, meet Oct. 17 at Pine. Northlake Christian is also in District 8-2A.

The Raiders missed out on the playoffs last season after going 5-4.

Last week the Raiders scrimmaged Albany at home and outscored the Hornets four touchdowns to two.

Raiders coach Bradley Seal said his team is just trying to clean up mistakes.

“We had a good effort, but we had too many penalties. That’s our goal, clean up the penalties,” Seal said.

Seal said that linebacker Tyrais Robertson along with defensive linemen Thaddeus Bickham and Seth Brown played really well against Albany.

“We have a big front four on defense, and they’re all important. If Seth has a quiet game, then I expect somebody else to make plays,” Seal said. “As far as Tyrais goes, he makes our defense go. He’s the leader of the defense.”

In last week’s game, quarterback Derrick Dillon finished with three touchdown runs of 10, 5 and 55 yards.

Devonta Pigott caught a 1-yard touchdown pass from Trevor Stuart and also intercepted a pass.

Mt. Hermon begins this season after a 1-8 campaign in 2012.

Henry Crawford starts his second year as Mt. Hermon’s head coach. He said his club will have to contain Dillon when the Yellow Jackets are on defense.

“Offensively, we’re going to have to play well as a line,” Crawford said. “We’ll have to control the line of scrimmage and not get pushed into the back field. If we can do that, I believe we’ll be able to get the ball to our skill position players and have some success there.”

Crawford said he’s excited to see what his team will do.

He said the offensive line needs to improve and the defense has to improve in tackling.

One of Mt. Hermon’s highlights in last week’s scrimmage against Varnado and Bogalusa came against Bogalusa when quarterback D.J. Elzey found Jack Brister for a 65-yard touchdown reception.

Admission to tomorrow’s jamboree is $7.