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Area teams use scrimmages to prepare

POSTED: August 15, 2012 8:30 p.m.

Gainesville coach Bruce Miller has some things he wants to accomplish in Friday’s scrimmage at Creekview. Winning is not really one of them.

Coming off a 12-2 season and trip to the state semifinals in Class AAA, the Red Elephants’ coach knows he’s got plenty of playmakers and primarily wants to get game film on everyone to evaluate, ranging from his starters down to the junior varsity. Even though he does plan on playing his starters in the first half, he said he’ll quickly transition to younger players to see what they can do in a game-type situation.

And, with two weeks between the scrimmage with the Grizzlies and the season opener against West Forsyth on Aug. 30 at City Park Stadium, risking an injury in a practice game would not be a wise move as the Red Elephants prepare for the jump up to Class AAAAA this season.

“I think I’ve won two scrimmage games in 25 seasons as a head coach,” Miller said. “The biggest thing is it (scrimmaging) gives our players a chance to go out and practice against someone else.”

For others, a scrimmage outing is a whole lot more important. East Hall and Chestatee open up the scrimmage schedule for local schools when they meet tonight at War Eagles Stadium. Chestatee coach Stan Luttrell says some of the greatest improvements can be made from studying what happened in the scrimmage and carry those lessons into Week 1 of the regular season. For the War Eagles, they have a big game right away to start the regular season, playing host to archrival North Hall on Aug. 31 at War Eagles Stadium.

“Like I said in our staff meeting, our scrimmage is a great opportunity for our players to go out and get to hit someone else,” Luttrell said. “That alone should put a little extra pep in our players’ step.”

Scrimmaging a program as close to home and competitive as East Hall (5-5 in 2011) was also important to Luttrell.

“East Hall always has great athletes,” Luttrell said. “This is a chance to see how we can handle a team with that kind of speed.

“It’s a great measuring stick for our program.”

Vikings coach Bryan Gray is mutually excited to scrimmage a team such as the War Eagles, who are going to give his staff film against a run-based offense. Going into Region 7-AAA, East Hall will primarily play teams that move the ball on the ground, such as North Hall, Buford, White County and Fannin County.

“Scrimmages are about evaluating your players to see which guys are ready to play,” Gray said. “We have a lot of tight battles for the starting job at some positions.”

When West Hall scrimmages against Walnut Grove on Friday in Oakwood, first-year Spartans coach Tony Lotti is going to give as many players what he calls “varsity experience” as possible. The Spartans only have 20 returning players and most of those he’s put in new positions. Lotti is trying to best gauge in the scrimmage where the Spartans need to improve to be ready to open on Aug. 24 against Johnson in the Battle of Oakwood.

“Our scrimmage is very important to give us a first look to where we’re at,” Lotti said. “We’re doing everything to be ready to open with Johnson next Friday.

“That’s a very important game for everyone here in our community.”


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