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Oak Ridge nears first scrimmage

By: Matt Long
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With the season’s first game only nine days away, Oak Ridge High’s varsity football team is nearly ready to start the season. With the annual Navy-Gold scrimmage held Friday, the only contests that remain before the season starts are a pair of scrimmages this week. The Trojans host Del Oro on Thursday beginning at 5 p.m. for the junior varsity and 7 p.m. for the varsity squad. On Saturday, the Trojans travel to Colfax. “The scrimmages are going to be run just like a game so one of the main things we’re looking for is to be perfect in our transitions,” Oak Ridge coach Eric Cavaliere said. “For example, when we bring out the special teams, we want to get all the right guys out on the field and have everyone execute. When we go from a two-receiver set to a three-receiver set, we want to make sure we execute that. We want to be perfect on those transitions.” Beyond that, Cavaliere said the team obviously wants to play well and execute. “This is our first time we’re seeing ourselves against teams with a different jersey so we really don’t know where we are,” Cavaliere said. The annual Navy-Gold scrimmage on Friday was the team’s first competition, albeit friendly, on the new artificial turf at Oak Ridge. The team’s first practice on the field came two days prior and was a welcomed event. “Even at its best, the field probably had 40 percent coverage with grass,” Cavaliere said. “So to have the new turf is great and the big old hump in the center of the field is gone. When we got on the field for the first time, it was so nice to get off the baseball field and onto a football field that had lines on it. Just to be tackled and brought down on the soft turf instead of the hard ground is nice too.” The Navy-Gold scrimmage went well, according to Cavaliere. Instead of breaking the team into two and playing against one another, Cavaliere and his staff designated offensive and defensive teams for each quarter and the team just went at it. “Let’s just say Oak Ridge won the scrimmage,” Cavaliere said. “We were looking for players who would show up and make plays. We were trying to find out what players were capable of playing and we found a few of them. We also saw which bolts needed to be tightened.” Cavaliere was particularly pleased with quarterback Connor Benander, who threw the ball well, as well as the play of the defensive backs and the outside linebackers. “The Navy-Gold scrimmage is basically a dress rehearsal of what we’re going to be going on Friday nights,” Cavaliere said. “It was a dry run for us and everything worked out great. We got out of there with no injuries and that’s always good too.”