Scrimmage caps spring practice for Bobcats

Friday, May 17, 2019
Quarterback J.D. Smith started the final four games of the 2018 season and returns to lead the Berryville offense as a junior this fall.
Charles Chappell /

By Scott Loftis

The Berryville Bobcats held their annual spring football scrimmage on Tuesday at Bobcat Stadium, and head coach Doug Shott said he saw some good things and some room for improvement.

“It was kind of like what you’d expect,” Shott said. “Spring practice is about acclimating your sophomores as much as anything. We feel like some of them looked pretty good. Our seniors led us pretty good.”

Berryville went 4-6 in 2018 — the program’s first four-win season since 2006.

Shott, who will be entering his third season as Berryville’s coach, said the Bobcats’ offense was hurt my mental mistakes at times during the scrimmage.

“When we’d get ready to pop a big play, we’d have a kid miss a block or blow an assignment,” he said. “Typically, it would be a kid that’s either young or inexperienced.”

At the end of last season, Shott emphasized the offensive line as an area where the Bobcats would need to replace some key players. He said the line played fairly well in the scrimmage.

“We’re pleased with it,” he said. “We felt good about at least three of the kids coming back. The ones we had coming back, they were pretty decent. We’ve still got some kids fighting for playing time.”

One position that’s settled heading into the fall is quarterback. J.D. Smith started the final four games there as a sophomore and led the Bobcats to a pair of conference victories — breaking a 15-game conference losing streak.

A dual-threat quarterback, Smith ran for two touchdowns and passed for another in a victory over Gravette in his first start last season, then passed for two scores and ran for two more as Berryville finished the season with a 43-6 victory over Green Forest in the Carroll County Super Bowl.

Shott said Smith is being asked to do more in the Bobcats’ offense heading into his junior season.

“We have him throwing across the field on a hitch route,” Shott said. “We felt like he did pretty well with that. He was calm. His reads were decent.”

The Bobcats will open the 2019 season on Sept. 6, hosting West Fork.

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