Victoria Jacobsen | The Journal Gazette Aiden Vachon catches a pass in the end zone during Homestead's practice Thursday.
Victoria Jacobsen/The Journal Gazette Homestead's Brayden Layton runs with the ball during practice Thursday.
Victoria Jacobsen/The Journal Gazette Homestead players huddle during practice Thursday.
Friday, August 10, 2018 1:00 am
Snider scrimmage just practice, Spartans say
Victoria Jacobsen | The Journal Gazette
(All games at 7 p.m. unless otherwise indicated)
South Side at Wayne, 6:30 p.m.
Huntington North at Northrup
North Side vs. Bishop Luers at Saint Francis, 6 p.m.
Carroll at Bishop Dwenger, at Shields Field, 6 p.m.
Homestead at Snider, at Bowser Field
East Noble at Concordia
Norwell at Bluffton
Angola at New Haven
Bellmont at Jay County
Garrett at Columbia City
DeKalb at Eastside
Leo at Warsaw
Churubusco at Heritage
Southern Wells at Union City
South Adams at Blackford
Tippecanoe Valley at Woodlan,7:30 p.m.
Adams Central at Central Noble
Whitko at Prairie Heights
Wawasee at Mishawaka Marian
Oscela Grace at Fremont, 6 p.m.
Homestead already sees plenty of Snider.
The Panthers dealt the Spartans their only regular-season loss in 2017, and then knocked them out in the first round of the playoffs. The two SAC powers will meet again Sept. 14.
But why not a little sooner? Why not meet a key conference opponent for a scrimmage today, the week before the season opener?
“Some people don't like (scrimmaging) an opponent that you're going to see not only in the regular season, but possibly in the playoffs again,” said Spartans wide receivers coach Shawn Harkness. “Our opinion is, it doesn't matter. Either way, they're going to get film of us from our previous three or four games. We like the idea that we're going against one of the best teams in the northern part of the state. It shows us where we need to be, and hopefully them where they need to be.”
While Homestead will want to turn the tables on Snider this season, Harkness said coaches do not expect the team to be in game-mode during today's scrimmage.
“We treat it more like an extended practice,” Harkness said. “It's not a game in our mind. We don't even put our full uniforms on, we'll be wearing our practice jerseys.
“It's more perfecting our craft.”
And as an “extended practice,” the Homestead staff will make sure that both Luke Goode and Jake Archbold, the leading candidates to replace quarterback Jiya Wright, get plenty of opportunity to take over as the signal caller during the scrimmage.
“We're going to handle it the same way we've been handling it really all summer, which is equal reps,” offensive coordinator Bill Skelton said.
“It's a good quarterback competition. They've made each other better. They're working hard. And so we're going to give them equal reps, and just kind of see what happens.”
And that does not just apply to Homestead's top quarterback contenders. Harkness said Homestead will try to give much of the roster an opportunity to play against Snider today.
“Snider may not do this as much as we do, but we go down to sophomores, we'll have sophomores playing in there,” Harkness said. “We want to see kids. The starters will get more playing time, but we go pretty deep.”
Both Harkness and Skelton said the Spartans won't be showing off anything flashy.
At this point, after two weeks of two-a-days, there are plenty of sections of the playbook the team hasn't mastered yet.
“We've come into camp in shape, for the most part, and we're just fine tuning right now, and that's a good place to be,” Skelton said.
“We still have miles to go in the process. So we're excited about where we're at.”
And while it's not game time just yet, the players are excited to test themselves against someone other than their own teammates for the first time this season.
“We just try to prepare for everything and see what happens,” senior defensive player Austin Layton said. “Defense-wise, we fly around and we treat every play like it's a play that matters.
“We are trying to cause turnovers. Everyone is sprinting for the ball. We're hawk tackling as a group. And so it's exciting what that will do in a game.
“And our offense is just as good. They're working hard together.”