Bulldogs hit the practice field, scrimmage Friday
Fall practice opened with high hopes on Friday for high school football teams across South Carolina. Marlboro County began the season with a huge turnout and lots of enthusiasm.
"We have about 100 kids involved at this point and I've been very pleased with the spirit they have shown," said head coach Dean Boyd.
"We just started hitting today, so we'll see how that affects the numbers and the enthusiasm tomorrow," said Boyd after practice on Wednesday.
The first four days, the Bulldogs were limited due to high school league rules to non-contact drills. Wednesday was a different matter.
After a few light tackling drills to teach the correct techniques, the whole team joined in the "Oklahoma drill."
In this practice session, two offensive linemen block for a running back against three defenders in a small space.
"We went at it pretty hard for a few minutes. It is a drill that really shows a player's determination, along with their skill," said Boyd.
The team moved to practice inside running plays, work on the passing game, then wrapped up practice with a full-contact scrimmage.
"I think we have shown improvement after every practice. That is critical at this point because, if you exclude our scrimmages, we only have about 13 practices before game week," he said.
"We still have a lot of questions to answer. The summer workouts don't give us much work with the linemen, so getting the offensive line game-ready is very important at this point," said Boyd.
"There are a lot of new faces on the defense. They run to the ball and look promising but we have to get them playing as a unit. That may take some time," he said.
Boyd said that he is also concerned about special teams, primarily because they have not had a chance to work on the kicking game yet.
The team will get its first opportunity to hit someone wearing a different uniform on Friday. They will participate in a three team scrimmage at West Florence High School, beginning at 6:30. The scrimmage will be moved to Saturday morning at 10 if thunderstorms are an issue Friday.
Joining Marlboro County and West Florence will be Class A power Carvers Bay.
"The scrimmage Friday and the three that we have next week will show a lot about our team. In the first one, you just want to see who wants to compete, who is willing to go all-out," said Boyd.
"Next week, you hope to see improvement in technique and execution. It is also an opportunity for guys who haven't already established themselves to get noticed by their position coaches."
The Bulldogs will host Wilson in a scrimmage on Tuesday. They travel to Northern Guilford for a jamboree on Wednesday, then host the Dennis Miller Jamboree of Champions next Friday night.
"We hope we have a big fan turnout for the jamboree. The money we make through the jamboree is important to running our athletic department. Since a bunch of the teams we play will be there, folks should get a good look at what we are up against this season," said Boyd.
Darlington will face Central of Pageland, beginning at 5 p.m. Marlboro's third opponent, Cheraw, will face the Bulldogs' final opponent, Manning, in the second scrimmage.
Defending Region 6-AAA champion Hartsville will play Chesterfield, then defending Class AA champion Dillon will play Lamar. The Bulldogs will wrap up the night by facing Keenan High School of Columbia.
Tickets for the jamboree are $5 in advance, $7 at the gate.