The first time with an unfamiliar foe across the line of scrimmage for the 2015 Manchester Greyhounds football squad came on Saturday, Aug. 15 as the Hounds ventured to Northwest High School to battle the host Mohawks.
In an early morning two-hour preseason tuneup, that line of scrimmage was unkind to the Greyhounds as Northwest, behind huge offensive and defensive lines, controlled the action in the trenches and ran the ball at will on offense and other than a few instances, stifled a short-handed Manchester offense.
“We knew going into the scrimmage that Northwest was going to be well coached ad very physical,” said Manchester head coach Dustin Cook. “That was one of the big reasons that we wanted to scrimmage them, as we knew it was going to be a good test to see where we were physically at this point in our season.”
The Hounds played short-handed on both sides of the ball the majority of the day due to injuries which no coach wants to see in the preseason. Running back Bryan Young, a key cog in the Hounds’ offense, went out early in the scrimmage with concussion-like symptoms and quarterback Jordan Freeman was sandwiched on a hard hit by two Northwest tacklers. Freeman stayed on the ground in pain for a few minutes before making his way to the sidelines, where he spent the rest of the day nursing an ice pack wrapped around his left bicep. Manchester also saw running back James Arias leave the scrimmage, like Young with concussion symptoms after a blow to the head. The injuries, all of whom are expected to recover quickly, allowed Coach Cook to use a number of players in different spots.
“Going into the scrimmage we wanted to make sure that we got a lot of our guys worked into the mix,” said Cook. “We definitely wanted to come out of there without any real serious injuries and we seemed to have done that which is always a plus.”
The scrimmage was played on the Northwest junior high field as their varsity field was undergoing some sod work. No matter which field the two teams met on, it was the Mohawks spending the majority of the time in the red zone and the end zone behind their brutal rushing attack. The two teams used two different formats in the scrimmage, the 10 plays on offense and then down and distance situations.
The Hounds found the end zone during the early 10-play efforts with Freeman at quarterback and Arias finding pay dirt, but struggled the rest of the way, though backup QB Nick Woolard was able to take some valuable snaps. The Mohawks took the ball to the end zone on five consecutive possessions, while holding down the Greyhound offense that incurred some mistakes with bad snaps and quarterback sacks, plus a Woolard interception toss.
“Overall, I thought the scrimmage went well,” said Coach Cook. “Offensively we were able to move the ball at times and defensively we were able to see just where we needed to be from a physical standpoint.”
“The main focus for this week is to make sure that we get our health back to full strength and start focusing on what we need to do as a team to be successful to start the season.”
The Hounds have one more tune-up before their Aug. 28 season opener and they will welcome the West Union Dragons to Greyhound Stadium this Friday night for the annual Jamboree Game between the two county squads. Fans at the game will receive a special schedule schedule poster highlighting the 2015 seasons for both teams courtesy of The People’s Defender.