One week away from football

Brethren quarterback Troy Macurio (11) pitches the ball as he gets hit by a Portland St. Patrick defender during the four-team scrimmage at Manistee Catholic Central on Friday.  (Scott Yoshonis/News Advocate)

Brethren quarterback Troy Macurio (11) pitches the ball as he gets hit by a Portland St. Patrick defender during the four-team scrimmage at Manistee Catholic Central on Friday. (Scott Yoshonis/News Advocate)

MANISTEE — The 2018 high-school football pre-season is almost over, and the real games are just over the horizon.

Manistee Catholic Central and Brethren prepared for next week’s openers at a scrimmage hosted by the Sabers on Friday. Also in attendance were Wyoming Tri-Unity Christian and defending state runner-up Portland St. Patrick.

For MCC, it was the first action of the year anywhere near full speed, and it showed.

Sabers head coach Jake Szymanski said that he was pleased overall with his team’s effort, but saw them come out of the gate somewhat slower than he would have liked.

“There was quite rough spell in the first ten minutes or so,” Szymanski said. “Nothing was really going our way. We weren’t really up to speed on how quick the game was going to pick up.

“But it was just that ten-minute span. Once the guys got acclimated with the speed, everything kind of fell back into place and we settled down.”

Part of that early sluggishness may have to do with his team’s numbers, and a few key injuries early in preparations.

“We really haven’t had enough guys until to day to even (play offense) against a defense,” Szymanski said. “It’s all just about getting off the ball a step quicker. There were a few plays we need to memorize better on the offensive side.”

Brethren head coach J.J. Randall said that he was so impressed with his team, especially on the defensive side of the ball, that he has ratcheted up his expectations for the season.

“We played two very well-known teams, powerhouses in eight-man football, and I think we competed very well against them,” Randall said.

The Bobcats had not even done any full-speed hitting in practice before the scrimmage, but used its size and strength to deliver some impressive hits on two good teams.

“We hit pretty hard,” Randall said. “I was pretty excited to see what we did today. Against Portland St. Pats we got down to the five-yard line four or five times, and just stupid things happened.

“The expectations are there, we just have to grow week-to-week. We have the capability. I was just super-proud of how hard they played.”

MCC will start the season at home on Friday, Aug. 24 against Hale.

Brethren will also open their season at home on Friday, against Fife Lake Forest Area.

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Posted by Scott Yoshonis

Scott is the sports editor of the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach him at (231) 398-3112 or syoshonis@pioneergroup.com.

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