For the first time since last fall, the Banks County High School football team will line up opposite an opponent not wearing the same color jersey.
The Leopards will travel to Gainesville this Friday for a scrimmage game with Lakeview Academy at 7:30 p.m.
Leopard coaches hope the scrimmage will allow them to better assess how their athletes will perform in an in-game situation. They also want to see how their team has progressed since the spring.
“Obviously you want to see where we are as far as the work we’ve put in throughout the summer and the last couple of weeks in pads,” said Banks County head coach Biff Parson. “We want to evaluate who is ready and who isn’t. There will be some guys who we think are ready, but once you get between those white lines, it’s a different story.”
Parson noted that the Leopards have several young players starting on varsity that the scrimmage could greatly benefit. He pointed specifically to an inexperienced quarterbacking corps, an offensive line with only one senior and a sophomore running back.
“There are some kids we definitely need to get battle tested,” added Parson. “We have to get our kids some confidence and I hope they get that from competing and feeling good about ourselves.”
The Lions struggled to 2-7 in Class A last season, but Parson is confident that Lakeview coach Deuce Roark will have his team ready to play. The Lions run a spread-option based, fast-paced offense that is differs from most of the offenses the Leopards will face this season.
“Our first four games are against run-oriented teams,” said Parson. “We probably won’t see the physicality and smash-mouth football – that’s what Commerce will bring to the table.”
But regardless of schemes and game plans, the scrimmage will be invaluable to the veteran players and the guys with little to no in-game varsity reps. Due to a lack of depth, Parson feels that it isn’t out of the question for a few standout freshmen to get some playing time this season.
“There are some kids we are excited to see play that have done an unbelievable job this summer,” said Parson. “Then, there are those kids that you don’t really know about. You hope for the best, but you have to put them in there with the wolves and see how they defend for themselves and let them respond.”