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Rockets start learning curve

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By Todd Martin

The Shelby County football team's offense won't look much different than last season, but the faces are completely different.

With just one player returning at a skill position -- and even he's switched to a different position - there are a lot of questions to be answered. Those questions started Friday in the team's first live scrimmage at Nelson County.

"First impression, there was a lot of hitting going on and that's good," SCHS head coach Todd Shipley said. "It was nice to get out there and hit somebody else. But, I thought we did pretty well, we executed well. (Offensive coordinator Jerry) Lucas said he thought we were inconsistent with a lot of different guys making mistakes at different times, but overall, it wasn't bad. We didn't see any new mistakes. The things we saw were things that we knew we had to work on."

The Rockets were without a few players, including the only returning receiver, Matt Page, who was out with a pulled hamstring. Zay Harris, who plays offense and defense, was out after making a catch on the Rockets' first offensive play. Harris was hit hard in the thigh and could miss a week or longer.

Branden Cresap got his first live action as the Rockets' No. 1 quarterback. Cresap started one game last season as a freshman due to an injury to Alex Matthews.

Shipley said his new young gun was solid.

"I thought he threw the ball well, and scrambled well -- although sometimes he didn't need to," the coach said. "We dropped a few passes, but I think that was mostly jitters."

Shipley also applauded the work of the offensive line and the running backs.

"I thought our line blocked really well, and did a great job," he said. "And Ty Barnett and Edwin Thomas both ran the ball well in their first action with the varsity team."

The offense scored twice to match Nelson County, but the defense was a little stouter than the score indicated in the controlled scrimmage.

"We're just all puppies out there trying to learn to play together," Shipley said.

The Rockets forced four fumbles, recovering three, against Nelson's primarily run-focused attack.

"I thought, defensively, we looked pretty good," Shipley said. "Seth Myatt played well at defensive end after moving from linebacker last year. DeParis Jones was in on a lot of plays at middle linebacker, and Ryan Allen looked really good. We need him to be strong for us, and he started out very well."

Overall, it's a steep learning curve for a young offense and a defense that has to improve from last season, but Shipley is positive after seeing the team's first action.

"We're heading in the right direction, but we're just very young," he said. "It's coming together, but it's going to take some time, and some games. I think we looked pretty good for the first night out."

Football scrimmage

The SCHS football team will have its second scrimmage at Daniel Field Friday, Aug. 22. The Rockets will play Lafayette, and fans are encouraged to bring blankets and lawn chairs for seating. The Rockets will also be looking for donations at the gate. The team needs soap, shampoo, towels, Febreze room spray and Plug-ins room deodorizer.