Shott seeing Bobcats improve on a daily basis

Tuesday, August 28, 2018
Berryville's Isaac Brown looks for running room in a game against Lincoln last year.
Charles Chappell /

The Berryville Bobcats are looking to turn the corner in 2018. In order to do that, the culture and attitude surrounding the football team must change. As the Bobcats prepare for their week one opponent in West Fork next Friday, coach Doug Shott believes he is seeing that change.

"After Friday night's scrimmage with Harrison, the kids wish the end result would have been different, but we came away feeling like we gave some licks," Shott said. "We took some licks, but we came away feeling like we gave some licks as well as we can take them and we learned a lesson on how to stop blitzing linebackers."

Berryville scrimmaged the Goblins a year ago and Shott could see an improvement in how the Bobcats performed this year.

"Except for a couple of assignments that were down-blocks and the blitzing up front, we felt like our technique was a whole lot better than it was last year," Shott said. "We felt like on our out-blocks that we got our butt between our man and the ball. We felt like the down-blocks that we did right, we stopped penetration on those."

Shott feels confident that the players he has will be able to make significant contributions this year.

"Defensively, we have moved a few guys around and we understand where some kids are going to be able to come in and help us," Shott said. "There were a couple of spots where we didn't know where we were going to be able to get that help, but we know that now. I feel like the offensive line has started to gel. They are starting to communicate better and I feel like we have settled on a rotation, if we are going to have a rotation, at running back. It's good to see some kids step up and take that leadership role and claim that spot for themselves."

Shott feels as if the Bobcats will rely on their defense to carry them this year, but he expects the offense to carry its weight as well.

"We have the ability to be more successful on offense than we were last year," Shott said. "Having said that, the defense is ahead of the offense right now, but the offense is doing well."

There were no live special teams plays during Friday's scrimmage at Harrison, but Shott feels confident with where his team stands in that area.

"We have narrowed our punters down to either Tristan Updegraff or Cale Heithold," Shott said. "Each one presents us with an opportunity and they can do something besides punt. We know that if we have a bad (snap), Updegraff has the ability to run and wriggle out of a bad situation. We know that Cale has the ability to throw out of it. With that being said, Updegraff is ahead. Kicking-wise, Armando Mojica is back and we will turn to him. During the jamboree, even though it was dead, he kicked the PATs in front of a big crowd and he was successful in his attempts."

The junior high had its scrimmage Thursday evening at Harrison. Shott said he has been impressed with how they have been looking early on.

"They have been improving steadily," Shott said. "This is that point in time when us coaches sit down and talk about the most improved player up to this point and our quarterback, Isaac Weston, has stepped up and improved more than anybody else from last year where he was at to where he is this year."

On Friday, Aug. 31 Berryville will travel to West Fork. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

On Friday, Sept. 7, Berryville will play its first home game on turf against Huntsville and begin practicing on the field as well.

"Having better footing in inclement weather will be great," Shott said. "We come out here and do the best we can. Everybody gets nasty and muddy. In short, playing on turf makes the game cleaner. The cuts are truer. Even though our field served a good purpose, it wasn't the best surface to run on. Having landmarks and numbers to run to in practice will be a real benefit for us. It will bring the game feeling to practice."

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