Central High School football returned to Carden-Jarrell Field on Thursday, July 11, for a seven-on-seven scrimmage against Lincoln County. The home game closed out the team's scrimmage schedule for the week after earlier matches against Ooltewah and Moore County.
Coach Doug Greene was overall pleased with how the Raiders closed it out at home, but said there was still work to be done in terms of preparation.
"We were a little bit sharper at the beginning than we have been," Greene said. "We've gotta learn how to get ourselves ready to compete and a lot of that's on me. I've gotta set that culture."
Greene added that the team's route-running and decision making had improved. Quarterbacks Conner Shemwell and Matthew Pittman were able to hit their targets and move the ball down the field.
The team's lone touchdown came when Pittman connected with J.T. Bush on a 25-yard pass.
Despite one touchdown, Greene said he was impressed by how the offense responded to Lincoln County's defensive pressure to stay open.
"This was a good day for us," Greene said. "[Lincoln County's] physical and they were rerouting our receivers and I was proud that our guys adjusted to it."
On the defensive side, the Raiders gave up four touchdowns through the evening, but also had five interceptions.
Greene was also pleased that the defense didn't give up big plays on short routes. He further stated that there was still work to be done to play as a unit.
"We're doing a better job of attacking the ball defensively," Greene explained. "We're gonna survive on defense by being a sum of all the parts. Being in the right place, playing hard and taking advantage of opportunities."
Various players Greene singled out for their work included Shemwell, C.J. Anthony and Collin Ward. He went on to say that the team's running backs were off to a good start.
A newcomer that turned heads this week was Terreal Clayborne, who had one of the team's five interceptions Thursday.
"He's decided he wants to climb up the depth chart," Greene said. "and we've noticed."
With the first week's scrimmage schedule complete, Greene said he wanted to work on various fundamentals with the boys over the rest of the preseason. This included working on throw timing on offense, as well as following in routes on the defensive side.
The team will be back in scrimmage action next week, with a pair of tournaments on the road. The first is a trip to Walker Valley on Tuesday, July 16. This will be followed by another tournament at Shelbyville on Thursday, July 18. CHS will play five games in both tournaments.
"That'll be a good finish for our seven-on-sevens," Greene said. "See where we're at, let us compete a little bit."