By Don Nelson
Coach Steve White saw some things he liked at the Liberty Bell High School varsity football team’s intra-squad scrimmage on the Mountain Lions’ home field last Friday (Sept. 11), but was also blunt about some things he thinks need improvement.
Friday’s scrimmage was open to the public as a way to introduce eight-man football to the hometown fans. The Mountain Lions won their first game of the season, and first as an eight-man squad, in a 70-6 rout at Northport on Sept. 5. Liberty Bell hosts Inchelium on Friday (Sept. 18). Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
White said the intra-squad practice went well in terms of everyone seeing action in a game-like setting. But he said that some players, particularly the younger ones, need to become more familiar with the playbook and understand where they are supposed to be on both offense and defense.
“Some of them were spending too much time figuring out what they were supposed to do,” White said.
That was less of a problem in the scrimmage — which White said was played at something less than 100 percent full speed to avoid injuries — than it will be in a game, the coach said. Eight-man football is played on a regular-size field, which leaves a lot of wide-open space and not much room for error in playing a position.
“If you get in the open, you’ve got a good chance to score,” White said.
The Mountain Lions demonstrated that on some plays during the scrimmage. A missed tackle or botched defensive assignment opens up an eight-man field pretty quickly for an aggressive runner or receiver.
Inchelium is a bit of a mystery, White said. He said his research showed that the visitors will come into the Methow Valley with an 0-2 record for the season, but he doesn’t know much about their size or speed. Inchelium will suit up about 22 players, White said, compared to 17 who will be in uniform for the Mountain Lions. Once again, White said, every player will see some action. All the players are expected to not only play both offense and defense, but also be able to play several positions on either side of the ball, White said.
White said he’s hoping for good community support at Friday’s home game, and expressed confidence in the young Mountain Lions team.
“I believe these kids have the ability and talent to win,” the coach said.