Prairiland High School football

Prairiland quarterback Connor Sessums (5) throws a pass against pressure from a Detroit defender during a football scrimmage before the 2018 season.

The Prairiland Patriots football team hosted a three-way scrimmage between visiting teams Maud and Como-Pickton of Class 2A. Overall, the Patriots looked strong on both sides of the ball against some capable athletes from each team.

The JV teams from each school scrimmaged each other in a round-robin style playing 10 plays on each side of the ball followed by the varsity squads with a very similar format. Prairiland’s starting varsity unit scored a touchdown against Como-Pickton’s defense, and the defense played hard throughout. All in all, Patriots head football coach Greg Mouser liked what he saw from his troops on both sides of the ball.

“I think we did some good things offensively,” Prairiland head football coach Greg Mouser said. “We’re still kind of transitioning from this triple-option into kind of more of a pro-style offense. We’re going to keep some of the option in, but the point of these scrimmages was to look at some of this other stuff, especially in the passing game. Not just the downfield passing game, but also the intermediate stuff and the screens — I really liked the screens.”

Along with the improved execution, the players feel a difference in the overall atmosphere and attitude, which is an encouraging sign to them.

“There was a totally different feel, attitude and atmosphere during pregame from last year,” Patriots senior Corbin Strain said. “Last year, it seemed more mellow and we weren’t as amped up to play, and we never really started out fast. In these scrimmage, we came out fast and played fast — it was contagious.”

On the defensive side of the ball, Mouser saw several of his veterans and young players make plays and disrupt the opposing offenses with minimal big plays allowed. Considering the new schemes being implemented, Mouser had plenty of positive praise for his defense’s performance.

“Defensively, I thought we did a pretty good job of lining up,” Mouser said. “We’re adding in basically a whole new system on top of what we already do, so there’s a lot of adjustments that need to be made, but I thought we did a good job of lining up, getting the secondary adjusted where we needed to be adjusted, we were coming down hill and getting to the ball. We had a lot of tacklers on the ball and I really liked what I saw from the defense as well.”

One of this year’s defensive captains also was pleased with the attitude and effort all around from the defense, which is another source of encouragement.

“I think we came out of the gates fast and played hard on defense,” Prairiland senior Cade Gordon said. “We didn’t really do that last year, so the way we started out was really encouraging to everyone seeing how we came out strong. As long as we keep firing off hard and fast from the very start of the game, then it will keep everyone’s confidence up. We moved the ball quick on the offensive side of the ball, which helped tire out the opposing defenses. If we keep doing all of these things and stick to our identity on each side of the ball, then I think we will be good.”

The attitude impressed Mouser as well, and with good vibes being felt this early on, the optimism continues to grow.

“I think what it says to us as a coaching staff is that we’re moving in the right direction,” Mouser said. “Our kids have really bought in what were trying to get them to do. There’s a really good attitude of them coming into practice, and they had a really good attitude during these scrimmages. One of the biggest things were trying to get them to do is to push through adversity within the game, and when that happens we move on to the next play. I think we’re beginning to get to the point where those kinds of things are not an issue anymore — we’re pushing through some of the adversity and looking to make the next play. At this point of the season barely starting, it’s a huge benefit from a mindset we’re trying to adopt.”

The Patriots will scrimmage again at home against Detroit on Friday with a time to be announced.

Chisum and Detroit battle it out in scrimmage

The Chisum Mustangs football team opened up its preseason with a scrimmage at home against the Detroit Eagles. Both teams battled hard both with strong points in the matchup, and for Chisum, there is plenty to be optimistic about.

“I think the thing that made the biggest impression on me was the way the newcomers on defense competed,” Chisum head football coach Darren Pevey said. “I really didn’t know what to expect from them. I mean, I know what they can do in practice, but that doesn’t always transfer to the game field. I saw lots of production from the youth and a bright future ahead.”

Unfortunately for the Mustangs, a few minor injuries during the scrimmage were a cause for concern, which health will be a point of emphasis going forward. Along with that, more cohesion with the veteran offensive line and a young secondary would be big pluses for the Mustangs.

“First and foremost, we have to dodge the injury bug,” Pevey said. “Right now, we have several starters down with injuries. If we can stay healthy and our offensive line comes together, I will be very happy. I also would like to see our secondary continue to improve.”

Chisum will partake in a three-way scrimmage at 6 p.m. Friday at home against Quitman and Como-Pickton, while the Eagles will scrimmage at Prairiland on Friday with a time to be announced.

Geoff Heppes is sports editor for The Paris News. He can be reached at 903-785-6967 or at geoff.heppes@theparisnews.com.

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