By Melissa McCaghren
The Slaton High School Tigers started their scrimmaging season against Abernathy Friday evening (Aug. 16).
It was the first time this season the team competed head-to-head against an opponent.
Head Football Coach Jeff Caffey was pleased with the results. “The first scrimmage went well,” he said.
Part of that is due to athletes being a year older and wiser to training.
“Year two is always more consistent because everything is understood,” he said. “(They have a) pretty good idea of not only what’s expected but what to do, how things operate here. Nothing is foreign to them anymore, so when we get a rhythm, it’s a little higher tempo, it’s got more pop.”
Coaching was attributed to this as well. “Anytime you have constant consistency with coaching staff from one year to the next, it always translates on the field,” Caffey added. “We were able to see our improvements from a year ago compared to now and it’s good.”
While Caffey admitted there are some things that need to be worked and improved on to become even better, he was happy they were ahead of where they were last year.
Part of that was shown during the scrimmage, where there had been improvements in areas. “To me the biggest standout in the Abernathy scrimmage was the play of our offensive line,” he said. “That was one of the areas we wanted to improve on, and those kids have stepped up to the plate this past week.
“They’ve shown the improvements in games we needed them to show for us to have the season we want, so we’ll see how that goes this week and then take another step,” Caffey added, saying they were very proud of the team as they have “worked the hardest.”
While he is looking forward to this week’s scrimmage, he said they were simply said organized practices against another team.
“They’re fun to win if you can, but the biggest deal is we want to see them improve on the goals for the week going into our first (regular season) ball game,” he said. “We are expecting our kids to execute and correct things from the week before – before games start to count.
“I’ve seen teams win both scrimmages and then lose the first five ballgames, so they’re not a real telltale sign how the season’s going to go,” Caffey added. “But it’s also a good sign of where you can gain the things you need to improve on and make better so you do have successes during the season.”
He’s not just talking about football either.
There have been four new additions to the coaching staff this year: Jacob Dangerfield, Pat Potts, Ryun Martinez and Kerry Teafatiller.
“All four of them are very, very good,” said Caffey. “I think with those guys, our kids are going to improve in all areas, not just out here in football.”
As the scrimmages continue, Caffey could not be more proud of the athletes as they continue working hard to have a successful season.
“All of them, whether they’re kids that are on JV or our prospective Varsity kids – we haven’t determined who’s up or who’s down yet, they show up every day,” he said. “They’re putting in the work to have the kind of season they want to have.
“That’s the one thing you look for – they do want it to happen, and these kids have that in their eyes. I think we’re going to have a good start to the year.”