Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera South quarterback Joel Galvan hands the ball off to Dallas Hansen during Thursday’s scrimmage.
EASTON — “We go with what we’ve got,” Madera South head coach Matt Johnson said after 20 players watched in street clothes. “They are big-time contributors, but they have to know what commitment is all about or it’s going to be a long, long time before they see the field.”
The Stallions faced the Washington Union-Easton Panthers on Thursday at John Ventura stadium where the featured teams combined for a 3-17 record in 2017. However, both teams are looking to rebound from last season’s bumps and bruises — mostly bruises.
“It’s a crazy thing,” Johnson said about his team’s progression, despite the struggles. “It’s changing and I’m feeling it and we’re seeing it. Once school gets out and summertime hits, that’s the next phase. Our off-season — spring ball, weights and strength and conditioning have been off the charts, I’m very proud.
“But when school gets out and jobs and summer activities get going, all of a sudden we are depleted by 30 or 40 percent unless guys step up and keep going. It’s getting better, we’re making the right steps, but this is a cultural thing and it’s going to take a while for them to buy in day-by-day. It’s better than it was, but we’ve run out of excuses. You have to be there for the family.”
The Stallions and Panthers took turns from the 40-yard line both on offense and defense. Madera South used the scrimmage to not only get an opportunity to face an opponent outside the typical practice setting, but also to execute some of the looks on both sides of the ball.
The Stallions overall didn’t show much to the crowd and the Panthers, but exhibited focus and energy as they gang tackled and executed their game plan. Overall, Thursday night gave the Stallions a focus heading into the next week.
“Football wise, we were vanilla. We wanted to discover who’s really going to execute and stick their noses in there,” Johnson said. “I saw a few goods, but I saw a lot of stuff that was eye-opening. The film is going to tell the true story.
“We just had guys a little gun shy. Like they were wondering what this was all about. I don’t care what we do, we teach them safe tackling techniques and we give them all the best tools to compete, but at some point you either want to go do it and get it or just lay off. But, any day for us to get there and compete is a good day for us, more opportunities.”
In terms of opportunities, working out a new offense is best served with a healthy dosage of repetition.
“It’s a totally different offense, it’s a pistol wing-t,” Johnson said. “We got a guy in the pistol set with a running back behind him and we got a variety of formations, none of which we showed tonight. We kept it in tight and in bunches, it looked like a mush ball game going on out there, we didn’t really spread it out. Last season, we tried to spread the game and run a zone-blocking scheme, instead this year we are running gap scheme.
“We’re trying to exploit the talent we have and not exploit the talent we dint have. I mean not doing the things we aren’t capable of doing. That’s all that it really comes down too. It’s totally different, a whole new game, a whole new offense.”
The Stallions get an extra week to work out the kinks from the scrimmage. They will take their bye week this week before opening the season on Sept. 24 against Kerman in Memorial Stadium.