South Johnston threw for five scores in the first 20 plays as the 3-A Trojans hosted 4-A Athens Drive for a seven-on-seven passing scrimmage on South’s upper practice field on Wednesday morning.
The Trojans had a downturn in consistency that wasn’t corrected until Josh Schindler hit Jaquain Smith for a score on a four-play series on the next-to-last possession.
“When it comes to seven-on seven, there’s no scoreboard,” said South coach Matt Riggsbee. “There’s no fans in the stands. There’s no equipment on, except for a helmet.
“Simply, the only thing I’m concerned about in seven-on-seven is conditioning and learning how to compete all the way to the end. We definitely get conditioned out here. We got no choice but to get conditioned, running around in this heat.
“What I was talking to them about after the game was how momentum carries the game of football. It only takes one play to shift that momentum into one team’s favor or the other. And it takes one play to get it back.
“But if we don’t have leadership concerned about the morale and the momentum during that process, it takes longer to get it back. It took us about 20 minutes to get it back. We started out red hot. We completed nine out of 10 passes in our first series. We were scoring, intercepting the ball, making great break-ups on defense.
“About the third series, they hit is with a deep shot and then they stopped us on offense. They gained that momentum and it was simply by their attitude and their morale. Their attitude and their morale was lifted at that point. Some of our kids were kicking the dirt. It started clicking for them. It took us a while to get that momentum. Again, it was one play and the momentum was back. That was my big concern afterwards.”
Josh Schindler is directing the first-unit offense.
“Schindler had several (scoring passes) today,” Riggsbee said. ” … It took us two plays to pick up a first down and then two more plays to score (next-to-last series). Right now, he does have the edge. Contending there with him is sophonmore Chase Carroll. … He’s at a baseball tournament out of town. I’ve got a lot of confidence in our quarterbacks and what our quarterback coach is doing to get them prepared.
“We definitely have weapons. We’ve got to continue building depth at our skill positions because our same starting receivers and running backs right now are also our linebackers and DBs. We got to get a lot of young guys in today. We got some freshmen and sophomores in on defense today and that was good for me because a couple of those guys really stepped it up.”
Riggsbee said South has had a productive offseason since going 7-4 in 2017.
“We had a great offseason in the weight room,” Riggsbee said. “We are as strong as we’ve been since I’ve been here. On varsity, we’re deep on our line on both sides. I believe we’re deep there. A lot of that is because of offseason weight lifting because we’re able to take kids that aren’t traditional linemen and get them stronger and they’re able to play that position.
“Our leadership counsel has been going strong this offseason. They’ve been doing a lot of community service and just trying to learn how to be leaders and what it takes to be a leader, not only here on the field but how that translates to the community when you graduate.
“We had a great spring ball. We really did. I’m excited about our incoming freshmen class. We seem to have some talent out of that group. I’m looking forward to seeing it develop.
The Trojans’ season opener, with Corinth Holders, is at home on Aug. 17.
South will travel for another seven-on-seven next Wednesday morning at Wilson Hunt.
On July 11, the Trojans will take part in a seven-on-seven tournament at Campbell
On Wednesday, Aug. 8, at 5:30 p.m., Garner, West Johnston, Western Harnett, Gray’s Creek and Holly Springs will be coming to South to scrimmage. There will be a $5 admission charge.
On Aug. 11, the Trojans will participate in the South Garner jamboree.