By Dave Pearce
By all accounts, the North Posey Vikings are getting respect early before this year’s football season begins. Most believe the Vikings are going to be a pretty good football team before the season is over. Part of that is due to the amount of returning experience. Optimism can also be attributed to sheer numbers and a large group of upperclassmen.
On Friday night at Heritage Hills, North Posey Viking Coach Joe Gengelbach took advantage of the scrimmage to get a look at nearly everyone one the roster. And while he admitted that it is usually not a good idea to scrimmage a team that you will play in the conference in five or six weeks, Gengelbach believes the Patriots were the right team to scrimmage this year.
“Anytime you get an opportunity to scrimmage against a team with the reputation and history of a Heritage Hills, it can tell you in a hurry some of the things you need to work on,” Gengelbach said after the scrimmage. “There were some things we did correctly and then we had some people doing some things I think we need to work on. It was mostly just us not being in the right spot. Besides, both we and they will be totally different teams when we face off against each other in five or six weeks.”
Gengelbach was mostly positive to his players following the scrimmage but aimed a bit of criticism at some of his experienced upperclassmen.
“By this time some of you guys, as old as you are and as much as you have played, out to be able to get in the right spot so you can make the plays,” Gengelbach said matter-of-factly. “There were some passes that were completed because we did not drop and were too tight to the line of scrimmage. And I think we can be better up front than we were tonight. We have to be able to control the line of scrimmage. If we can’t control the line of scrimmage and they have all day to throw the ball, it is hard to cover the receivers. If they dent the line of scrimmage on us, they can run the ball and make it hard on the secondary people and the linebackers. We have to get tougher mentally on those types of things.”
Offensively, Gengelbach liked a lot of what he saw, especially considering the fact that so many players were seeing repetitions.
“We have a few things we need to clean up on but overall we had some good plays out there.” Gengelbach said. “But we have to remember that this coming Friday is when it actually counts, when we go up to South Spencer. We have a week to clean things up.”
Gengelbach said he thought the team was physical and came off the ball and made contact but believes the team, as a whole, can improve their tackling. However, the key again is knowing where you have to be to make the play and being there on time.
“We did fairly well but we have got to get a while lot better,” Gengelbach told the team cautiously. “If you want to go where we are talking about going, we are going to have to get a whole lot better.”
Gengelbach saod he saw several positives but that should be expected from a team with the experience the Vikings have coming back this year.
“What is nice about this type of thing is that we can use it as a learning situation,” Gengelbach said. “We can’t be thinking about where we need to be. We have to get there and know where the people are we are covering. We found some things we need to work on but overall, I thought our kids played physical. Hopefully we will keep a good positive attitude and we can get better each week.”
The big numbers in the junior and senior class could provide the Vikings with some depth they have not had in the past few years.
“I believe we have some depth,” he said. “We played an awful lot of kids tonight. We have about 27 or 28 juniors and seniors and all those kids played a lot. I thought they all played aggressive and as long as they are willing to play hard and are willing to listen, we can do some things to help them get better.”
Alec Werry didn’t take as many snaps at quarterback as some fans thought but Gengelbach left no doubt who his No. 1 guy is at the helm after Friday’s scrimmage.
“I know a lot of people are asking about James Marshall and he is a good, very athletic kid and he will play a lot for us this year,” Gengelbach said. “But I thought Alec did a great job when he was in there. The good thing is we have two good kids who will work hard and work in different places and they will both be OK. I thought they both played well tonight.”
Aside from the 27 juniors, this years team has 19 sophomores to account for one of the largest (in terms of numbers) teams North Posey has had in a long time.
“For us that is a lot of kids and that’s a great plus for us,” Gengelbach concluded.