Midway hosted 7-on-7 passing scrimmages with Triton, Lakewood and North Lenoir on Wednesday evening at Tommy Sloan Stadium.
The Raiders return Wyatt Holland, who passed for 1,977 yards and 22 touchdowns with just two interceptions in a 5-2 season earlier this year.
Midway is looking to replinish a receiving corps depleted by graduation.
“It was some good work, some good competition,” said Raiders coach Cory Barnes in regard to the scrimmages after a weight-lifting session Thursday morning. “It was good to have the kids out there competing against other schools.”
Barnes noted that teams didn’t compete in the 7-on-7 format last summer because of COVID restrictions.
“It was good to compete and see what we need to work on,” Barnes said.
Teams had possessions in 10-play sets and each scrimmage lasted about 30 minutes.
“Nate Smith is our only returning starting receiver,” Barnes said. “We had some guys coming up from JV. They helped us out a little bit on varsity during the spring. Casey Culbreth is going to have to step up to be another outside receiver. Josh Lupo was out there (Wednesday) and Trey Gregory and some younger guys. They’ve just got to step up.
“It was good for them to get some time against someone other than ourselves to get some work in to see how to beat some coverage, how to get in the right route, learning the plays in the case of some players. … I’m looking to get better and better each week.
“It helps to have some leadership at the quarterback position to help them get into the swing of things.”
Barnes is trying to put together another 7-on-7 scrimmage at Midway. The Raiders will go to Goldsboro for a 7-on-7 on July 14.
The air game traditionally has been a secondary dimension for the Triton offense, which ran for 286.3 yards per game in a 4-3 season after an 0-2 start in the spring. J.P. Petoletti threw for 372 yards with three TDs and one pick as a senior.
“Right now we have Jalen Evans at quarterback,” said Hawks coach Ben Penny. “He is our lone returner in the program. That is a major point of emphasis this summer is to develop depth at that position. The lack of middle school football the last two years has hurt us tremendously at the skill positions.”
Evans is a junior who is coming up from the junior varsity.
“Jalen is a very talented athlete,” Penny said. “If he stays healthy, he will do big things for us.”
The run-oriented Hawks got some value from the passing scrimmages.
“I was pleased at how competitive we were being so young,” Penny said. “The guys were really getting after it on defense. Offensively, we have some things to work on in the passing game. We know we will be able to run it. If we continue to improve in the passing game, it will make us a better football team.
“Ross Stevens and Camauri McDougald made some huge plays for us offensively. Eli Holmes, Carter Daughtry and Javon Cowan had a good night for us in the secondary with several interceptions. Jalen led us at quarterback, making some good throws across the middle of the field.”