Berryville looking to turn the corner in 2018
The Berryville Bobcats have had a week of practice and coach Doug Shott said the team has hit the ground running with some productive practices.
"Having visited with all of our kids, I think this is the team that wants to change things to the way it used to be," Shott said. "I know they want to be. They just have to learn to do the things that it takes to get to that point. I believe in all my heart that this group wants to change things around here at Berryville."
Shott said the defense has done a great job of communicating to each other on the field during practices.
"Much like last year, we expect our defense to be ahead of our offense," Shott said. "That's just the way it works in football. The defense will always be ahead of the offense. Offense requires a little bit more thinking and a little more plotting. As we go in a team situation, getting our offense out there and getting them to think, that creates some confusion. If we ran against air, we would look good, but anytime we put a defense out there, it changes things, especially early on."
The Bobcats have up to six running backs who could see action this year, including Tristan Updegraff, Issac Brown and Christian Lemus. Cale Heithold is the returning starter at quarterback.
"It's a battle right now and it's healthy to have a battle," Shott said. "We have a number of guys who can touch the ball for us out of the backfield. Cale is a returning starter from last year who is competing at quarterback. J.D. Smith is a good young sophomore who will be competing with him, though. It's healthy and it puts pressure on our guys."
The Bobcats have been averaging 32 players at each practice, but Shott expects that number to increase once school starts.
"We will see a few kids come in that have been busy with other things," Shott said. "I believe it will be somewhere in the 32 to 40 range."
Shott has been pleased with how the junior high has been looking thus far.
"Once again, the defense is ahead of the offense just like you would expect it to be," Shott said. "We have a few kids that are having to learn a few positions that they haven't been in because we are going to put our best 11 out there. I'm encouraged by them. The ninth-graders have a good group of leaders and it's a matter of getting some of those young ones acclimated."
Temperatures have been unseasonably cool for early August and they look to stay that way into next week. Shott doesn't seem concerned about that, though.
"The old in me says we need it to be hot right now, but the fact of the matter is that it's cool for everybody," Shott said. "As long as we are doing the things that will get us in shape and get us acclimated to the weather, you can't worry about things you can't control."
Berryville kicks off it season at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 31, at West Fork.