Football fans in Greenwood were clearly eager to return to the stands.
Despite Tuesday’s scrimmage being announced a little more than 24 hours in advance, plenty of spectators dotted the stands to watch Greenwood High and Emerald High scrimmage in preparation for the football season.
“I can’t believe there was this number of people,” Greenwood coach Chris Liner said. “That’s an impressive number of people for a scrimmage. In some ways, it kind of felt like a home game.”
“It’s a blessing just to be out here playing,” Emerald coach Tad DuBose said. “For us to be able to out the pads on and be in here tonight, a lot of people didn’t think it was going to happen, so I’m going to enjoy it.”
No score was kept, nor did a clock run, but Greenwood scored three touchdowns and added a field goal.
Greenwood revealed its new flexbone system, which Liner is experienced with running. Jaylin Tolbert, Daylan Rappley and Josiah Jeffrey lined up at quarterback on different drives.
At running back, Carlos Norman showed some skill when he scored a 15-yard rushing touchdown. Chris Simmons, Jyrea Martin and Tamaje Aiken also ran the ball.
The Eagles’ defense is further along than the offense, Liner said.
“You could tell with both teams it’s the first time we’ve gone with anybody other than each other. It’s kind of sloppy at the beginning,” Liner said. “A lot of balls on the ground, blown assignments, not coming out of the huddle, just sloppy football.”
Ahmari Coats scored a touchdown with a long run on a screen play with a pass from Jeffrey. Ike Griffin scored another touchdown on a fumble return.
Emerald ran the option offense last season, and DuBose’s run-heavy system looked similar, with splitbacks behind the offensive line and the quarterback lining up in the shotgun.
Emerald’s defensive line excelled, with Robby Harrison and Cam Gordon wreaking havoc on the edges. The Vikings’ lack of depth showed late in the scrimmage.
“Pleased with our effort,” DuBose said. “We just don’t have a lot of depth right now. When one or two go down, it’s kind of hodgepodge.”
Tuesday’s scrimmage was the first time since 2017 that Greenwood and Emerald lined up on the same field. Liner said the reuniting of the district schools seemed to be a good move for fans and players.
“That’s the one thing I really like, was there wasn’t any trash talk,” Liner said. “It was a good, clean scrimmage. You can tell these guys kind of hang out with each other and they’re not mortal enemies, so to speak.”