Mustangs Ready for Opener
BY JOHN KRAHNERT III
It's finally time for football at North Moore High School.
After missing out on last week's action because of a bye, the Mustangs take the field at home against Princeton at 7:30 p.m. It's also the debut for new coach Greg Simmons.
Though North Moore's new head man isn't normally a fan of having a bye on the opening week of the season, Simmons said his young squad needed the extra week of preparation.
"This has been such a blessing for us because we weren't ready to play last week," he said after practice Wednesday.
Simmons said he's seen a lot of growth in his players since they scrimmaged at Eastern Randolph on Aug. 14. North Moore now has over 40 kids in the program, which should help with depth. In practice, the team has been repping the same concepts over and over again as it learns the new system Simmons has brought with him.
"When you're doing new things, it takes a while to learn it," he said. "I know it's not going to happen overnight. I still know we've got a thousand miles to go before we're anywhere near where we need to be. But we're a mile closer than we were."
Simmons said his team has gotten better across the board.
"They're working hard to eliminate their mistakes and to limit their mistakes," he said. "That's important, and that's what I really like. And they're enthusiastic."
North Moore opened last season with Princeton as well, but lost 33-14 after jumping out to a 14-0 lead in the first half. The Bulldogs finished with a 10-4 record last year that included two playoff wins.
Princeton lost 17 seniors from last year's squad and is coming off a 41-0 loss against Hobbton last week. Simmons and a few of his players went to the game. He expects a tough test.
"The old saying is, your biggest growth is between your first game and your second game," he said, "and I think that's especially true when you're talking about young players. Just like I think we grew a lot since our scrimmage, I know they're going to grow a lot since last game."
Simmons said it's important for his defense to limit big plays from Princeton's spread offense, forcing the Bulldogs to drive down the field.
When the Mustangs have the ball, Simmons said he's looking for his young offensive line to play with some aggression. He said the team needs to get the ball in the hands of its athletes in order to make plays.
One of those athletes is Xavier Scotton, who said he and his teammates feel more prepared for Princeton than they did last year. He said that in order for the Mustangs to have success, they need to play together.
"That's what I think," he said. "As long as we play together, we'll do all right."
Contact John Krahnert III at firstname.lastname@example.org
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