Marlboro County High's football team got its first taste of action against an opponent Saturday morning, hosting West Florence in a controlled scrimmage.
Like most early season scrimmages for the Bulldogs, the coaches gave the team a mixed review.
"I saw a bunch of good things, stuff that we can build upon. There were also a lot of mistakes but those should be things we can work to correct," said head coach Dean Boyd.
The offense actually out-performed Boyd's expectations, moving the ball with some degree of consistency, especially on the ground.
"Prior to the scrimmage, we had not spent a great deal of time working the entire team on offense. We have focused more on position group work, where players learn the fundamentals. However, we moved the ball pretty well, I thought," said Boyd.
West Florence did disrupt the Bulldogs' offense with a great deal of blitzing.
"Blitz-pickup is an area in which we have a good deal of work to do. We knew beforehand that it could be a problem, so that was no big surprise," said Boyd.
Except where disrupted by a blitzing linebacker, the Bulldogs were successful running the football. Senior back Josh Brown had several nice runs as did "Troll" Ingram, playing for the first time since suffering a broken leg last season.
The Bulldogs also got yardage on the ground from quarterbacks Elijah Blair and Iyon Williams. Williams, normally a wide receiver but will back up Blair, busted a 60-yard run for a touchdown midway through the scrimmage.
"That is an aspect of the offense where we will definitely get a boost. Elijah is as good as any tailback and when we use Iyon, his speed and quickness is tough to contain," said Boyd.
In the passing game, the Bulldogs would like to complete a higher percentage of their throws but ones they did complete were very productive.
Blair connected on several downfield throws for big gains. Receivers also turned screen passes into good yardage on numerous occasions.
"Their blitz caused some rushed throws and a couple of sacks, so that had an impact on our effectiveness through the air. Still, I thought Elijah did a good job recognizing what was open and throwing to the right place," said Boyd.
On defense, the Bulldogs showed a lot of potential although they did give up numerous big plays.
"We would make three or four plays where we stopped them for no gain or a loss, then get burned for a long one," said Boyd.
"There were some missed tackles and poor pursuit angles that contributed. Again, just stuff we have to work on," said Boyd.
The Bulldogs will have to contend with another opponent this week - weather. Monday's practice was delayed by a thunderstorm and Tuesday afternoon's workout was a soggy one.
With more storms in the forecast for late in the week, the Bulldogs may need some luck to get their final three preseason match-ups played.
The Bulldogs are scheduled to play Thursday night in a jamboree in Lumberton, NC. Marlboro County will play the host team at 9 p.m.
Friday, the Dennis Miller Jamboree of Champions is set for McAlpine Stadium. The Bulldogs will take on Mullins in the nightcap at 10 p.m.
Saturday, Marlboro County is to appear in the Chesterfield jamboree, again playing the host team in the final contest.