By Melissa McCaghren
This upcoming Friday (Aug. 27), the games start counting, but the Slaton Tigers and Roosevelt Eagles honed what they had learned so far in a scrimmage last Friday (Aug. 20) at Roosevelt High School.
Slaton Head Football Coach Lawrence Johnson and Roosevelt’s Head Coach Matt Landers spoke highly of the other’s skills on the field, which were put to the test in the final scrimmage of the 2021 season.
Both teams had high points and lower points, both in the shorter drills as well as the quarter of regular play.
Johnson said while he saw some struggles, it will help them learn before the start of their regular season this week.
“We didn’t respond to the physical side of the scrimmage like we would have liked but our kids still competed. We have to execute better on both sides of the ball and respond to the momentum changes throughout the game,” he said.
“We will continue to work on becoming a better version of us and creating an identity for our team. There are some things we did well and others where we need to improve but the focus is always on playing great technique and executing at a high level.”
Landers felt both teams benefited from the scrimmage, and praised the teams’ efforts. “We both came out healthy and got some good work in. Slaton is a great team and very fast, they are going to have a great season and I look forward to seeing what Coach Johnson and his team can do this upcoming season,” he said.
Still, there were things he and the team will have to work on if they want to go farther than their Bi-District appearance. “(We need to) just keep getting better and better everyday. We saw some good things in the scrimmage and we saw some things we need to improve on. We can always improve and work on some form of the game,” added Landers.
Now, the teams start their 2021 football seasons.
Slaton will play Friday at 7 p.m. against the Snyder Tigers at home.
Johnson said the team will have to work hard to defeat Snyder, who will be out to take back the win after a last minute touchdown last season put Slaton over the top.
“Snyder throws the ball around well so we will have to cover guys and have a swarm mentality,” he said.
“Offensively, it’s simple, we need to score points. We are both hungry to get our first win to spark some momentum.”
The Eagles start their game away, playing the River Road Wildcats at 7 p.m. Friday.
Landers is looking forward to the start of the season as well as the game against the Wildcats.
“River Road is a great team this year, I think they are better this year than they were last year and that is complementary to Coach (Bryan) Welps and his program on how they always get better. This will be a great test for us and see where we are at,” he said.
“They are a physical team with great running backs and offensive lineman and their linebackers are some of the best in the Amarillo area. So we are looking forward to the challenge and excited to be back to Friday Night Lights.”
Wilson opens up their season against Rule Friday at 7:30 p.m. while Southland will play Cotton Center at home on Friday.
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(Editor’s Note: All games are as of press time Tuesday (Aug. 24). Any changes or cancellations will be posted online on The Slatonite’s Facebook page, Slatonite.