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North High football team hosts four-team scrimmage

By Staff | May 15, 2019

CHUCK?BALLARO North Fort Myers running back Jaden Wise stiff-arms a Riverdale defender during a four-team scrimmage Saturday at North Fort Myers High School.

After spending several weeks hitting each other, the North Fort Myers High School football team finally had the opportunity to hit someone else.

The Red Knights hosted a huge scrimmage at Moody Field on Saturday, where they played Dunbar, Venice and Riverdale high schools to see where they are ahead of their spring game May 23 against Cypress Lake.

The verdict was predictable: The teams played well, but have a lot of work to do.

One thing that could be noticed right away was the odd headgear both North and Riverdale wore. These foam shells fit on the outside of the helmet to help reduce the risk of concussions during practice.

That didn’t mean people didn’t get dinged up, especially as they relished the chance to hit an actual opponent.

North Fort Myers head coach Dwayne Mack gives his defense an earful during a four-team scrimmage Saturday at North Fort Myers High School.

The four teams played each other in a round-robin format with both teams getting equal time on offense and defense. The field was cut in half so all four teams can scrimmage at once.

The scores were written in the sand, pretty much forgotten with the first strong wind or rainstorm. But one thing seemed certain, the offense had an awful lot of success.

Whether it was because of using half the field, but North’s offense had an easy time of it at times, as did their opponents which, at one point got head coach Dwayne Mack hot under the color, imploring his team to make some plays.

Of course, there were plenty of mistakes. Against Venice, the Red Knights threw an interception (that would have gone to the house had it been a real game) and lost a fumble. There were also plenty of false starts and defensive players jumping offside.

Still, Mack said he was pleased by the energy and aggression his team showed in its first real test against opponents.

“We did OK. I was impressed by our physicality, the attitude and the effort. There are some things we need to work on technique wise, but with all that we preach in practice, I’m pretty happy and excited about it,” Mack said.

Blaise Sparks, offensive lineman, said it was nice to knock the rust off and be able to hit someone else.

“It was great. We just hit them in the face. We need to be more disciplined, we had too many flags for offside,” Sparks said. “We need to be more physical. You can always be more physical.”

Teams started spring practice on April 23 and are allowed up to 20 practices over the course of four or five weeks. North has been practicing four days a week in preparation for the spring game.