Ryan coach Dave Henigan knows his depth chart looks a little murky with the season opener against Rockwall looming Aug. 29.
By the time the Raiders wrap up today’s scrimmage against North Crowley, Ryan hopes things will start to look a little clearer. The Raiders will host North Crowley at 7:30 tonight in the first opportunity for teammates to stop hitting each other and start knocking around players from other schools.
Henigan said he’s looking for players to step up and claim many vacated roles.
“It’s a glorified practice,” Henigan said. “We’re not one of those teams that worry about the scores of scrimmages or anything like that. But we have some guys that are competing for spots. I think it’s going to be important for some of those guys to have good nights and show what they can do against another opponent.”
After the Raiders lost more than 50 seniors from last year’s team that reached the 5A Division II regional final, the first-year Ryan head coach has been trying to fill holes in that depth chart.
Among those positions are quarterback, wide receiver, cornerback and linebacker.
The quarterback battle has been the most prominent contest in the first weeks of practice. Freshman Spencer Sanders, junior Austin Carter and senior Shomari Cann have fought for the position vacated by Mitchell Bridges, who now is at East Texas Baptist.
Henigan said all three are doing certain things well but he’s starting to see some separation. He hopes to find out about his quarterbacks and incoming players after they play in live situations.
“I think they’re good players, but they haven’t played on Friday night yet,” Henigan said. “That’s going to weed itself out as we go through the scrimmage and next week.”
Throughout the first two weeks of practice, Ryan has rotated the three quarterbacks with the first team on different days. Henigan said that as of Thursday afternoon he had not decided which quarterback would start the scrimmage. He followed that statement up like a coach in midseason form.
“If we had, I probably wouldn’t tell you,” Henigan said with a laugh.
Sanger searching for defensive improvement
Sanger was able to turn things around and reach the playoffs in 2013, in spite of a defense that gave up 35 points in seven of the Indians’ 11 contests.
Sanger coach Chuck Galbreath said the cornerback position is one of the spots he’ll be looking at when the Indians host a scrimmage with Springtown at 8 tonight.
Seniors Chance Cockrell, Logan Thomas and Josh Seacrest are in the battle for two cornerback spots. Galbreath said the secondary is just one area of a defense that can be vastly improved from a year ago.
“We think defense is something we need to be a whole lot better at,” Galbreath said. “We have a chance to be a whole lot better, so it’ll be exciting to see what they look like in a live situation.”
Ponder seeing turnaround
Even two days before Ponder scrimmages at Whitewright at 9 a.m. Saturday, Ponder coach Glen Schuelke could sense a different atmosphere.
Things feel different than they did before last season, when the Lions went 3-7 and won one district game.
A year after Schuelke was hired, he says the familiarity between the coaching staff and the players has increased. Those students finally will get a chance to play against somebody other than themselves when Saturday rolls around.
“Compared to last year, we’re so much further along on both sides of the ball,” Schuelke said. “The kids know that also, and they’re excited to see where we’re at. Saturday, it’s time to hit somebody else other than our own kids. Our kids are looking forward to it.”
BEN BABY can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter at @Ben_Baby.