LUMBERTON — Several local football teams are taking advantage of opportunities to see their players in action before the season officially starts over a month from now.
By making time for 7-on-7 scrimmages throughout their summer workout schedules, coaches have been able to see their teams execute their offensive and defensive sets against opponents they could be facing off with when they suit up in the fall.
Each of the coaches focused on different outcomes from the scrimmages, whether it was mastering their defensive strategy or just getting reps for their players. Here’s what the Robeson County coaches had to say about their individual approaches for 7-on-7 matchups.
In the week between dead periods, Fairmont went to 7-on-7s at Gray’s Creek and Lee County with the goal of not digressing for head coach Kevin Inman.
“I just didn’t want to take a step backwards,” Inman said. “We’ve got to keep moving forward and just try to refresh the guys and bring them back to bounce.”
Against Gray’s Creek and Hobbton in Hope Mills, Fairmont was able to move the ball effectively with its top two wide receiver targets, Jayvon Morris and Jordan Waters, throwing long touchdown bombs to each other as they switched time at quarterback. Other weapons on the outside showed signs of emerging in the likes of Xavier Covington and Kadeem Leonard.
“We are doing good and everybody is staying focused and had a good showing today,” Inman said following the scrimmages.
The scrimmages allowed head coach Jon Sherman to expose his team to multiple challenging scenarios and see who responded well to adversity.
“Every year is different with 7-on-7s, based on your personnel,” Sherman said. “This year we lost a lot of offensive guys , so offensively we’re just trying to see who’ll make plays. Who might step up in situations to make the plays we need to replace the guys that left us.”
The scrimmages also helped rising junior quarterback Micah Carter develop chemistry with a wide receiver corps that includes standout senior Chandler Brayboy.
“We’re trying to get his timing down because it’s his first year really playing full varsity,” Sherman said. “It’s all about timing and seeing who can make plays for us on offense.”
Each rep has been valuable for the Red Devils as they’ve worked to improve over the summer.
“I just want to see my kids compete against kids from other schools and get their intensity level up,” Red Springs coach Lawrence Ches said. “We’re just trying to get reps. We’re working on our secondary and our young wide-receiver corps.”
Although the Red Devils will continue to rely on the run game with Lee McLean lining up in the backfield this season, the 7-on-7s helped the team work on all other aspects of their approach.
“Just timing and extra reps,” Ches said. “Practicing against live bodies.”
Head coach Clay Jernigan had defense on his mind as he watched his team participate in scrimmages this week.
“Really I’m doing it for us to run our pass coverages and stuff like that,” Jernigan said after his team played South Columbus on Thursday. “I’m doing it more for the defense because we’re a run-first team.”
Jernigan said the scrimmages also gave his younger players a chance to adjust to the change of pace from middle school football while also helping them develop competitive attitudes.
“More than that, it’s just been for them to have fun,” Jernigan said. “I really don’t stress wins or losses. I stress on us being where we’re supposed to be at.”
Lumberton and St. Pauls
Both schools didn’t participate in 7-on-7s during the week, but instead elected to do work in the weight room and on the field conditioning.
Sports editor Jonathan Bym contributed to this report. Reach Brandon Tester at 910-816-1989 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @BrandonTester.