By MATT NYE
LIMA — Every team has to get its feet wet during the preseason with a couple of scrimmages. A very young St. Wendelin squad took some time to get acclimated to what high school football is about.
With just 17 kids on the roster and most of them underclassmen, coach Jim Bodart got a look at what his team was made of in a scrimmage Saturday against host Lima Perry and Riverdale.
“It was a good opportunity to get some reps 11-on-11, which is difficult to do with how many kids we have,” Bodart said. “We have some young kids playing in some positions that they needed to see what the speed of the game was and how do they adjust accordingly.”
“I thought, overall, we did pretty well. We have some things to clean up, especially on the defensive side of the ball because of the new 4-3 defense we are trying to feel out going into the season.”
Each team ran a set of 10 plays against one another to open up the scrimmage. St. Wendelin allowed a passing touchdown by Riverdale and surrendered four Perry scores.
Offensively, the Mohawks’ young offensive line couldn’t get much of a push.
The Mohawks gained just 31 yards against Perry’s defense in their first 10 plays.
St. Wendelin then got just three total yards against Riverdale in their second set of 10.
In the first down-and-distance portion of the scrimmage, the Mohawks went three and out against Perry, with sophomore quarterback Cyle Smith being sacked twice.
Bodart liked the way Smith performed on the day.
“He’s young and putting a lot of pressure on himself,” Bodart said. “He really doesn’t need to. He’s a good kid and he’s a good athlete. Today, he was going 1,000 miles an hour, and once we settled him down and calmed him down, the whole team feeds off the quarterback. It’s just the way football is. Once he settled down, the whole team settled down and we started doing things fundamentally better.”
St. Wendelin’s defense gained a turnover when Riverdale’s quarterback had the ball jarred loose and Donovan Scudder recovered the fumble.
After the turnover, the Mohawks’ offense started to kick into gear as some holes started to open for Scudder. He gained 21 yards on three carries, on the drive including an 11-yard gallop on a fourth-and-three.
“We blocked the first level of defenders pretty well today,” Bodart said. “It was getting to the second level where we are asking a lot of freshman or sophomores to go block senior linebackers, which is a hard thing to do.”
“We are going to work on that heavily this week and they will learn that as we go along in the season. Overall, I was pretty happy with the line and their improvement throughout the scrimmage today.”
St. Wendelin took the field against Perry’s defense for the last set of 10 plays and gained 20 yards.
Smith completed a couple of passes during the set, including a slant pattern to Brody Whetsel for 12 yards.
“I think from first snap to last snap, we got a lot better, which is what you come to a scrimmage for,” Bodart said. “I thought at the end, our offense sort of got into a groove out there and we let Cyle (Smith) sling it around more and take control of things.”
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