Pam Pack’s scrimmage preps team for season opener

Published 5:33 pm Friday, August 10, 2018

After months of battling teammates in practice, Washington’s football players finally had an opportunity to hit someone else for a change on Wednesday, as the Pam Pack hosted SouthWest Edgecombe for a scrimmage. The first live action of the 2018 season gave Washington head coach Jon Blank an opportunity to see how far his team has come along so far in preseason, as well as reveal what the Pam Pack needs to work on before the season kicks off next Friday.

Blank and his coaching staff went into the scrimmage wanting to see if the Pam Pack has improved on one of its biggest weaknesses from last year. The second-year coach said he chose the Cougars as a scrimmage opponent because he felt their team characteristics would be a good measuring stick for his squad.

“They give us a big, strong, physical presence that we wanted to see how we match up against,” Blank said. “For the most part, I thought we matched up well with their size and strength.”

Blank was particularly pleased how the interior of his defense handled SouthWest Edgecombe’s physicality, which was one of the prime objectives for the scrimmage.

“We accomplished a goal of kind of stopping that inside run,” Blank said. “One of the big things that we were looking to see if we could stop the inside run game. That was our Achilles heel last year and it didn’t really let us get anything going defensively. And I thought tonight that we did a pretty good job of attacking the inside gaps and minimizing extra yards up the middle.”

TAKE A SEAT SON: Ganeryan Parker levels a SouthWest Edgecombe defender during Washington’s second drive of Wednesday’s scrimmage. (Sean Finnerty | Daily News)

On the offensive side of the ball, Blank said the goal was to first try out newer offensive packages, such as I-formations and running a spread offense. On Washington’s second drive with the varsity offense, the Pam Pack really got its running game going, with both Ganeryan Parker and Michael Clark going on long runs and knocking over Cougar defenders like bowling pins.

Blank credited the success on the second drive to the fact Washington ran the triple option, which Blank referred to as his team’s “bread and butter.”

“That second series we came out and we ran a little bit of triple (option),” Blank said. “We didn’t necessarily run all of the versions that we want to run on Friday nights, but some of them that we want to get better at. Our kids are really comfortable in that.”

While there were many of positives for Washington to draw from the scrimmage, there were also some negatives. The problems from the offense’s perspective are quite normal ones to have at this point of the season, when players get their first live action of the season and tend to show some rust.

“We put the ball on the ground too much,” Blank said. “Some bad center exchanges, a couple of botched handoffs, a couple of bad pitches, an interception. We’ve got to minimize our turnovers.”

Washington’s defensive interior played well on Wednesday, but Blank said the play of the defense on the perimeter and in play-action plays are things that need to be worked on.

“I thought some of our communication on plays like counters, some of the toss plays, some of the play-action plays; I didn’t think we were very effective against those,” Blank said. “They kind of caught us in a couple of things and that’s fine. It wasn’t our focus going into this scrimmage.”

Wednesday’s scrimmage was the only one the Pam Pack will have this year, as Blank said they now want to spend their time preparing for their week one opponent in East Carteret. Blank and his team immediately went to work, watching tape to help improve and correct mistakes made on Wednesday.

The 2018 football season is now less than a week away and there’s a sense of urgency to be ready.

“East Carteret is going to look at that film (of Wednesday’s scrimmage) and they’re going to attack anything that was weak on our end. So, we’ve got to get better now,” Blank said. “We don’t have time to wait on that.”