PREP FOOTBALL: Raiders wrap up first week of fall camp with preseason scrimmage

Good Hope's Ethan Anderson (3) splits a pair of defenders during the Raiders' Red-White scrimmage Friday night. (Nick Griffin for The Cullman Tribune)

GOOD HOPE, Ala. – With the first night of football season just around the corner for Good Hope and the rest of the state, the Raiders wrapped up their first week of fall camp with a controlled Red-White scrimmage in James W. Shabel Stadium. The public was invited to attend and the game was overseen by a group of officials getting in some preseason work as well.

One of the officials, Mark Freeman, touched on what he and his officials were focused on as they were there to prepare for the upcoming season themselves.

“One of our main things is just working on getting our legs back under us for a new season,” Freeman said. “We’ll be working on our mechanics and there are always new changes every year but really our main focus in scrimmages is player safety as well as in every game.”

Friday night’s officials preparing for the scrimmage before kickoff. (Nick Griffin for The Cullman Tribune)

Freeman sees a lot of value in preseason scrimmages for himself and other officials not only because it gives them a chance to adapt to new rules and work on their physical conditioning, but also because it’s a great opportunity for coaches and officials to develop better relationships.

“It’s great. It’s good for us to be able to get with the coaches and for them to get to know us. Somehow, some way, we’ve got to be able to break the barrier down. Some coaches are intimidated with us and we’re intimidated of them sometimes,” Freeman said. “So, there’s got to be a happy medium, it’s never going to be perfect, but at some point, we’ve got to be able to communicate with each other in a positive way because it helps them, helps their program and helps us.”

Raiders Head Coach Alan Scott was excited for his kids to get some reps in full pads in a game-like situation after the first week of fall practice. It was a controlled environment for the coaches to work with certain groups in certain situations and they wanted everyone to stay up off the ground, but it was still a good chance for both front lines to be physical at the point of attack.

“You know this is our first week and we’ve been in helmets and shoulder pads and now to get out here with everything on and kind of get a little bit of a football feel to it with the officials and we’ve got some fans here tonight so it’s great,” Scott said. “We’re excited and just ready to get in some more work. This is a practice so if people are coming and thinking it’s going to be a game, it’s not. We’re still going to be very physical with one another, just not to the point of taking someone to the ground.”

Raiders Head Coach Alan Scott working with a group of players during Friday night’s scrimmage. (Nick Griffin for The Cullman Tribune)

One of the really valuable things that Coach Scott and his staff take away from these types of practices is information on where their team is. The scrimmage gave players a chance to prepare for more of the mental aspects of the game as well as have a full-padded practice.

“The other thing we’re looking for is just knowledge. How are they going to be able to take what they’ve learned already this week and put it into a game-type scenario,” Scott said. “Do you know your plays, do you know your alignments, do you know the calls? It’s definitely going to be good for us to see all that.”

The Raiders didn’t keep score during Friday’s scrimmage but the fans in attendance had to feel good seeing running back Colton Bagwell take an option pitch from quarterback Tanner Malin 59 yards down the far sideline for a touchdown on the offense’s second possession of the night. Good Hope will certainly try to develop another powerful running game before they host Carbon Hill on August 23rd to kick off the 2019 season.

Raiders quarterback Tanner Malin hands off to running back Colton Bagwell during Friday night’s scrimmage. (Nick Griffin for The Cullman Tribune)

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