Pirates coaches got an up-close look at the football team’s performance against opponents on June 6, when Englewood wrapped up a contact camp with scrimmages against Littleton, Jefferson and Lincoln.
“Overall, it was a good day for us,” said Jay Graves, Englewood head coach. “The guys did a pretty good job on both sides of the ball. We saw good things and plays that worked for us and we saw areas where we need to made adjustments. It gives us an idea where we need to make changes and a starting point when regular practice begins in August.”
The Pirates began the summer contact camp on May 28. Since May 31, the players have been in full pads and going through full-contact drills. The June 6 scrimmages were the first chance the Pirates got to work against someone other than teammates.
Senior Isaiah Mestas is slated to be the starting quarterback for the varsity. He directed the offense, threw passes and ran the ball himself.
“This is a lot better than last summer when I was transferring to Englewood and didn’t get involved in the summer football program,” the quarterback said during a break in the scrimmage schedule. “I am ready to go. I am stronger, and because I am stronger I can throw passes better. I didn’t really work on passing accuracy during the off season, but I do get a lot of practice taking part in our 7-on-7 competitions this summer.”
He said he thinks the team is looking good. He said there are a lot of good players coming back and good young kids to replace those who graduated, so he thinks the Pirates will be a better team this season.
The Pirates are looking to have a pretty good offensive line this season, as most of the starters, like Ben McFarland, are returning this season.
“I feel great coming into this summer because I feel like I am two or three times better right now than I was at this time last year,” the sophomore said. “We could have a pretty good line this season because just about all last year’s offensive and defensive linemen were freshmen or sophomores who are returning in the fall. Also, most of us have spent a lot of time in the weight room, so we are stronger coming into this year.”
He said it was tough last year on the line because most of the starters lacked varsity experience. However, the varsity experience gained last season should prove to be valuable because he and his fellow linemen know the offensive blocking schemes and the defensive alignments.
McFarland is slated to play center on offense, and defensive end when the other team has the ball.
“Center is OK but I like playing defensive end better,” he said. “I like defense because I like to hit people and I have been working during the off season getting stronger and getting quicker coming off the line.”
The coaches continue to urge all players to work out in the weight room regularly, and the team will continue playing 7-on-7 tournaments and taking part in hog challenges this summer.
Practice for the fall season begins Aug. 12, with the team permitted to scrimmage on or after Aug. 22.
Englewood opens the season Aug. 30 on the road against Woodland Park. The first home game is Sept. 6 against Arvada.