Over a thousand people packed Memorial Stadium on Friday, May 18 to watch the BCHS Wildcats in their first scrimmage. They also turned out for the BCMS Bobcat scrimmage and the Powder Puff football game won by the senior girls.
Coach Ryan Sulkowski was impressed. “If that doesn’t show you how ‘football crazy’ this place is, then I don’t know what would,” said Sulkowski.
The middle school kicked off on May 18 and Sulkowski was impressed with what he saw from the young Bobcats.“They took some major strides in their development of grasping our offense and defense. There are so many kids to get excited about at the middle school level that our varsity staff cannot stop talking about where we should be in a couple of years.”
Sulkowski got a good look at the Wildcats in a simulated game situation and though a scrimmage isn’t like lining up against an opposing team, the BCHS coaches were able to gauge their players in a slightly more pressure-packed situation than the repetition of drills during practice.
“I believe we answered a few questions we had heading into the scrimmage,” said Sulkowski. “But this week will tell whether or not some of our younger guys can step up and perform under the lights in a Friday night atmosphere.”
The scrimmage identified what work still needed to be done before Thursday’s game against Trinity Catholic. This spring game is a new wrinkle for the Wildcats. In the past they have competed against teams of equal or lesser strength during the spring. This time around, however, Sulkowski picked a team with playoff potential. Trinity is a 2010 state champion and went deep into the playoffs last year.
Sulkowski doesn’t expect to go out and dominate against the Celtics. Instead it will be a learning experience for his young team. “Trinity Catholic is a measuring stick. We are not winning a district or state championship this Thursday night. This game is to expose the areas where we most need improvement and the areas we can build on.”
The idea is a simple and valid one. Square off against a team that is as strong or stronger than you to discover your strengths and weaknesses. The coach believes he’ll learn in May where the most work needs to be done during the summer and who can line up against teams like Columbia, Palatka, Bolles, Clay, Bishop Kenny, and Bradford in the fall.
To avoid high speed hits there will be no kicking situations in the game. Punts will be fielded but not returned. There will be no rush during the PAT. Both teams will play their starters until they have seen what they can do and then substitute freely.
The Cats will wear white and the Celtics green. Kickoff at Memorial is at 7 pm.
The Wildcat Booster Club will be doing a chicken and rice fundraiser dinner from noon to 7 pm at the stadium and diners will be allowed into the stadium for the game.
The Wildcats are also getting ready for the second annual Baker County Juniors Youth Football Camp, July 16-19. The camp is for kids in grades 1-8 and runs from 9-12 am. Early registration is $60 before June 22. After that it is $85. Call Ryan Sulkowski at 259-6286 for details.