PHOTO: Monticello head coach Jon Kyte (center, with sunglasses) gives instructions to the Panther players prior to the start of the scrimmage at Clayton Ridge Aug. 23. (Photo by Pete Temple)
By Pete Temple, Express Sports Editor
Playing a football scrimmage against a team from another school went against a long-held tradition, but was also an improvement in terms of preparation, according to Monticello football coach Jon Kyte.
The Panther football team put aside the traditional, intrasquad scrimmage at Dean Nelson Field, and instead hopped a bus to Guttenberg to play against Clayton Ridge Friday, Aug. 23.
“The scrimmage was a great learning experience, and competition for the guys that we wouldn’t have gotten if we just did an intrasquad scrimmage,” Kyte said.
“We had the opportunity to work out the kinks and the nerves that would come with a first game. Clayton Ridge is a quality team that has the opportunity to win its district. We could never simulate the competitive level they gave us, in a practice.”
The scrimmage began with the teams taking turns in pre-assigned situations. Each team had the chance to practice third-and-long plays, then two-minute drills, then first-and-goal situations from the opponents’ 10-yard line.
Then, the teams played two quarters against one another, using a continuous clock.
“One thing the staff talked about changing is not going the situation part of the scrimmage next year,” Kyte said. “We didn’t really get into the tempo of a game atmosphere until we finally kicked off for the actual quarters of the scrimmage.”
Kyte said that while no score was kept, there were several good things the Panthers did against Clayton Ridge.
“I was very pleased with how our special teams and defense performed during the scrimmage,” Kyte said. “Clayton Ridge didn’t score a touchdown on our defense during the continuous clock quarters, and we had great pressure on the quarterback along with causing turnovers.
“We got great kickoffs from Peyton Paddock, and he also blocked a punt.
“Offensively, we did some good things at times. Tanner Felton ran hard and is a tough back to take down. Cody (Jamison) did a good job of directing the offense in his first live competition at quarterback. We need to do a better job of taking care of the football.”
Kyte said a road scrimmage was good preparation for the Panthers, who open the season Friday, Aug. 30 at Anamosa.
“It was like a game day for the players,” the coach said. “For the coaches, it gave us the opportunity to make adjustments and work on our communication during a game day. I’m very pleased with how we worked as a staff.”