PRESCOTT VALLEY - Thanks to a scheduling twist, the Bradshaw Mountain High football team finds itself playing what insiders refer to as a Week Zero game Friday night.
While most varsity squads in Arizona will have one more week to practice for their 2012 season openers next Friday, Aug. 24, the Bears are being thrust into the fray early on the road.
On Friday, Division II Bradshaw takes on Sahuarita Walden Grove - a new Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) D-IV school south of Tucson that will be competing in its inaugural varsity contest.
Kickoff is at 7 p.m. on the campus of Sahuarita High, which is a short distance from Walden Grove.
Although it's a lengthy 225-mile drive from Prescott Valley to Sahuarita, Bradshaw Mountain coach Adam Schiermyer said this week that he welcomes the Week Zero game as a first-year varsity head coach.
"I'm treating it like it's the biggest game of my career because it's the first one," he said. "For the kids to get some experience under a new coach - a new philosophy, to see what it's going to be like in a game with a new coach, to see the tempo with a new coach - it's all good things going into that first week."
After all, the contest should boost the Bears, who are playing host to rival Prescott High at Bob Pavlich Field next Friday night. BMHS will have a game under its belt to work out the kinks and jitters.
However, it's tough to say how competitive Walden Grove will be, and Bradshaw probably won't pick up many power points from this game.
Walden Grove coach Chris Sargent, who guided the school's junior varsity team to a 4-4 record last fall, is mentoring a green squad. The Red Wolves' 30-player roster is comprised of all juniors and sophomores.
The Arizona Daily Star in Tucson reported Tuesday that Sargent and his coaching staff recently had to give a presentation to their squad about what it means to make a "fair catch" on special teams.
"You have all these grandiose ideas as the coach. All these grandiose ideas," Sargent told the Daily Star. "Then, you come out here and it's, 'You don't know what a fair catch is?' You have to tone it down a bit. We may take some lumps. It will be a learning process, but we have some legitimate athletes here. And I'm excited to see where this thing goes."
Last Friday, Bradshaw prepped for Walden Grove with a scrimmage against D-IV power Lakeside Blue Ridge, which it tied.
Originally, the Bears were scheduled to scrimmage Blue Ridge today, but BRHS had another game lined up. Since Bradshaw was worried it might not get a scrimmage in before the season started, AIA officials told BMHS that it could scrimmage Blue Ridge Aug. 10 and schedule a Week Zero game, which it did.
"I said, 'Yeah, absolutely. Let's do it,' " Schiermyer said.
Sophomore quarterback Skylor Clinton should get the start tonight for the Bears in the team's new spread option attack. However, speedy defensive back Damian Otero, who's currently a backup QB, may see some snaps, too.
This past season, Clinton filled in admirably for injured star senior Tyler Audsley, who succumbed to a season-ending broken leg during warm-ups prior to a loss to Glendale Deer Valley last Sept. 30.
Although Bradshaw went on to lose three of its last five games to finish 6-4 overall and miss the state playoffs for the first time in seven years, Clinton showed promise without any previous varsity experience as a starter.
Clinton completed 26 of 50 passes for 427 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions in those final five contests. He also exhibited decent mobility both in and out of the pocket.
The Bears own good speed at wideout, running back and defensive back, and they possess a physical defensive line. But the team's overall conditioning in the off-season has been a concern.
During the early part of the 2012 campaign, Bradshaw will likely have to rely on its aggressive defense to win games, as its o-line is banged up by injuries and has struggled with zone blocking.
It's hard to know whether the concern over conditioning and blocking will make a difference in Week Zero, but it definitely will over the course of the Bears' 11-game schedule. Bradshaw's players and coaches say they do not know what to expect from Walden Grove.
"It'll be a challenge, but it will help us," Clinton said. "We'll see how they are when we get there."
Posted: Monday, August 20, 2012
Article comment by:
coach S ...
You need to listen to your players and bond with them .....or there not going to be there. This team could be 10 and 0. Possibly. Sounds like , before its to late create a relationship with them. That makes for a coach that players will respect.
Posted: Friday, August 17, 2012
Article comment by:
Here we go Bears! This is just the beginning to a great season! Work hard, stay focused and work on technique!! It will all come together! Use tonight to work on everything! One play at a time!! We wish you GOOD LUCK and stay true!!! We Love you Guys!! :)