Without a hitch
By BRETT MARSHALL
After two hours of going through game-like situations, the biggest reason Garden City High School football coach Brian Hill had a smile on his face was quite simple.
The Buffaloes had been able to have their annual Brown and White Scrimmage.
Twice in his first three seasons, the scrimmage had been washed out, and short-circuited by lightning storms.
"Honestly, just getting this in is the biggest accomplishment, taken everything we've experienced the last couple of years," Hill said. "We're so much further along simply because we had a chance to go game-speed situations for two hours. And we didn't get anybody hurt tonight."
And what Hill saw, he liked.
He liked the fact that on the opening series of the scrimmage, with the No. 1 offense going against the No. 1 defense, senior quarterback Greyson Tempel guided the team to a touchdown, going the 70 yards in 12 plays with the final one being a 2-yard cutback into the end zone by the nimble-footed Tempel.
"I thought Greyson played well, showed a lot of good things," Hill said of his second-year starting QB. "We had a good mix of situational plays that you can't simulate in practice. You just like the fact that you can see how they do. Getting the chance to do that is so important."
Hill said it was vital to the team's future success to go through pre-game preparations that began hours before the start of the scrimmage.
"Just knowing how to put everything on, how to come out to the field, how to warm-up and stretch to get ready, those kinds of things are important," Hill said.
The next big play that was executed by the offense came with backup running back sophomore, Ethan Yardley, who broke a couple of tackles and cut to the outside, racing 70 yards for a score.
"I'm glad we finally got to go at game speed," said Tempel, whose twin brother Dusty plays wide receiver and defensive back and was on the receiving end of a couple of passes. "The big thing is getting into shape and learning the tempo of our new offense. Our offensive line was blocking well and it was great to be able to throw to Caleb (6-5 junior wide receiver Tramp). I can find him and that's certainly a welcome change for us to have that big target."
Tempel said the new scheme installed by Hill allows the team to play at a much faster pace.
"The tempo definitely is better for us," Tempel said. "It feels good to get the ball in the hands of other playmakers and know that I don't have to run back and forth across the field all the time to make a play."
Senior Emilio Parr, who has been a starter in the secondary at free safety, is also seeing a new role — backup quarterback to Tempel, a position he had not played since the eighth grade. That, and the fact that the Buffs are playing a different defense now with two safeties vs. one a year ago, has Parr excited for the start of the 2013 season.
"I've been throwing a lot since the summer session, so it's just been getting used to throwing the ball again," Parr said. "We've got a lot of returning guys in the secondary and we're trying to pick up the slack where we lost some of our linebackers. I think having two safeties allows us to come up more quickly on the run and also gives us help on the deep passes. You're not back there all alone."
Through the entire night, the Buffs suffered just one turnover, that an interception by returning starter Dozie Ekweariri, stealing a pass from Tempel on a deep out pass on a fourth and long play.
"We had a few penalties, but for the most part they are things we can correct," Hill said. "The kids are tired of beating up on each other. They're ready for somebody else."
That somebody else will be Bixby, Okla., a 402-mile one-way trip on Friday for a 7 p.m. kickoff against the team that won in Garden a year ago, 42-7. Bixby is 21 miles south of downtown Tulsa.