A first dress rehearsal always has some rough spots to iron out.
The Granbury Pirates experienced that Saturday morning on Johnny Perkins Field at Pirate Stadium with an intrasquad football scrimmage.
As always in the preseason, the defensive units seemed to have an overall edge over the offense, coming up with several interceptions and a fumble.
“I’m not satisfied, but I’m pleased with our execution,” Pugh said. “We threw a lot at them this first week, and they did a good job of retaining it. I think we got a lot of people some good reps.”
Pugh noted that his players responded well for their first entry into game-type situations.
“Overall for a first scrimmage, both sides really flew around and played with a lot of enthusiasm,” Pugh said. “The defense was around the ball and forced turnovers, and that’s good to see.”
GHS won 9 of 11 games last season, which was the most football victories in nearly five decades for the school.
They qualified for the playoffs for the fourth consecutive year under Pugh, as members of District 7-4A. The Pirates’ only regular-season loss was to eventual state champion Aledo, in their former District 7-4A alignment.
Granbury is now in District 8-5A, with Aledo, Burleson High, Burleson Centennial, Cleburne, Crowley, Everman and Joshua.
The Pirates head coach said that the first and second teams ran about 16 plays each and the third team took eight snaps. That was followed by down-and-distance plays to work on game-type situations.
The first week of practice is a time when the sheer information input can result in the players feeling “overloaded” sometimes, according to Pugh.
“The main objective now is to back up and slow down,” Pugh said. “We want to let them repeat a few things and focus on execution.”
It was no surprise that the top two varsity candidates to start at quarterback, Dillon Graham and Brodie Ables, got the bulk of the snaps. Ruston Beasley also saw action taking snaps.
“I thought (the quarterbacks) did a good job of running the huddle,” Pugh said. “I thought both (Graham and Ables) did a good job of executing.”
Ryan Suitt, who passed for 2,284 yards and 24 touchdowns as a junior in 2013, transferred to a school in the Metroplex.
Pugh noted that another factor seemed to be the “first-scrimmage jitters” – not just for the quarterbacks, but the entire team.
In addition to coming up with the interceptions, the defense dished out some hard hits during the full-contact portion of the scrimmage.
One goal was to not have anyone come out of the scrimmage with a serious injury. That objective was met.
“We want to compete and be physical, but we want to be smart about it.” Pugh said.
The Pirates have six returning starters back on both offense and defense. As of Monday, 125 players had come out for football in grades 10 through 12.
Senior running back Malik Allen is back after rushing for more than 1,000 yards last year.
Junior linebacker Peyton Gilmore is Granbury’s leading tackler among returnees.
The Pirates are continuing their morning workout schedule this week, on the field from 7-10:30 a.m.
Their first intersquad scrimmage will be at 7 p.m. Friday, at home against Wichita Falls Hirschi. The Huskies, members of District 4-4A, Division I, were 7-4 last season in Class 3A and were eliminated from the playoffs in bidistrict.
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