Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Mackay Stadium for the gridiron battle that will feature five Reed and four Spanish Springs players on the Silver team and two Sparks High players on the Blue team.
It’s no easy task getting players in shape and a gameplan ready, for players who have not suited up in seven months, in less than a week.
“We were a little nervous after practice Tuesday, but we felt pretty good after yesterday’s workout,” Blue team coach Scott Everist said Thursday afternoon. “We’ll be ready to take the field Friday night for sure.”
The game features the Blue vs. the Silver squad. Each team is comprised of the top graduated senior football players from schools in northern and central Nevada. Spanish Springs coach Scott Hare and his Cougars coaching staff is guiding the Silver team.
The Reed contingent suiting up for Hare’s Silver squad is made up of quarterback Brent Showalter, defensive backs Tyler Puryear and Dennis Bartee, linebacker Donovan Inskip and center Collin Tuttle. Hare also gets to coach a foursome of his former players one last time, receiver Dylan Woll, return man Austin Rauh, tight end Travis Mullens and fullback Trent Flowers.
Everist has Sparks High standouts Henry Banks, a running back, and Doug Chinchilla, a receiver, on his Blue team.
Both teams began workouts Monday and continued those Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. A photo session and dinner banquet Thursday culminated the practice week in preparation for tonight’s game.
As a general rule, with a shorter practice time frame, defenses are ahead of offense. Will that be the case tonight?
“You’d think so,” Hare said. “You get to run downhill on defense. If linemen fill gaps, linebackers can go make plays and you cover guys in the back. On offense, if you leave one guy unblocked, he makes a tackle and you’re punting.”
Both coaches have enjoyed their week coaching the area’s top talent.
“It’s been great. It’s a little bit different for us to have so many guys,” said Everist, alluding to his smaller fall roster with a 3A school. “It’s a little looser atmosphere, but there’s still a lot to get done. We’ve had a lot of fun this week.”
Hare had similar sentiments.
“We have a lot of talent. It’s been a lot of fun to coach these guys,” Hare said. “When you get a group like this together, you realize how well coached the other teams you play against are. These are great kids who have had four good years of coaching. It’s fun to take kids from that background. They pick stuff up really quickly.”
Both coaching staffs came into this week’s Sertoma activities with a gameplan for how and what to practice. That’s a near necessity with just four days of practice with new personnel.
“Since we knew we’d be the coaches, we’ve spent a couple months working on this,” Everist said. “We’ve tried to put in a plan that would showcase as many kids as possible. There has been very little individual time in practice and a lot of team time. We just want to give the ball to different people and put on a good show.”
Hare’s theme this week has been ‘Do a lot with a little.’ His playback is much more compressed than his regular season version at Spanish Springs.
“I’d rather go in with five plays and know that we can run them all than go in with 10 and not really know,” Hare said. “We have to run the ball. I think we’ve got quite a few good runners.”
In a new twist, the Sparks Sertoma Club is inviting back all the players who have participated in the perennial June tilt. The players of the past will be honored at halftime.
“The Sertoma game is our biggest fundraiser of the year,” Sertoma Club spokesman Doug Voelz said. “We wanted to honor the past players and we’d like to get as many people in the stands as we can.”
All proceeds from the game are returned back to the community through the Sertoma Club’s charity work. Tickets for the game are $10 while children five and under are free.