South Johnston dominated in a scrimmage with East Chapel Hill at South Garner on Saturday. After that, the Trojans sat in a locker room for about an hour during a summer storm before matching up with Broughton.
“The first half against East Chapel Hill, we were able to gain a lot of confidence,” said South coach Matt Riggsbee. “We were able to run the ball however we pleased. Defensively, we gave up a couple of plays that were about seven or eight yards and that was it. Everything else was pretty much handled behind the line of scrimmage.
“I want to say that we probably got more sacks in that scrimmage than we did all last football season. We felt good after the first scrimmage, going into the rain delay. Sitting in those locker rooms for an hour, we came out against Broughton. They were just a completely different style team than we’ve seen.
“They were an air raid team with a heavy passing attack. Every time we’d get them into third down situations, they’d figure out how to convert it in the air. Coming out of that scrimmage, we know that we’ve got to tighten up on our third-and-long defense and stay tough in those situations, get better in our coverage in our secondary, with our linebackers and get more pressure up front with our defensive line.
“Same thing, offensively. We were able to get a couple of first downs those first couple of series, but we would have penalties or we would drop passes that would put us into fourth down, where we would have to punt.”
South finished the scrimmage with the Caps with an 80-yard drive that was completed with a touchdown pass from sophomore Chase Carroll to senior Heze Bailey with no time remaining.
“It felt good to persevere and keep fighting when it mattered, keep our composure and get a score when we needed to,” Riggsbee said. “We were able to build a lot of depth on Saturday. We were able to get a lot of different guys in, especially in the first scrimmage. In the first scrimmage, our starting defense didn’t get but about three plays.
“Our starting offense only got one series of 10. The rest of that 50-minute series was all about building depth. A lot of our second- and third-string guys got plenty of playing time. That was important for us.”
The Trojans start the 2018 season at home against Corinth Holders on Friday at 7 p.m.
“We’ll continue to get better at the things that the scrimmages exposed our weaknesses on,” Riggsbee said. “We’ll kind of put them in the forefront of what we’re doing. It also allows us to realize what our strengths are so we can continue to focus on those things. The main thing is just going into this first game week with a lot of confidence. We’ve got a lot of confidence in what we’re doing on both sides of the ball.
“We’re going to continue to get better this week in our special teams. We haven’t been able to go live yet in our special teams and that can be a deciding factor in a football game.”
South has exchanged scrimmage tape with its week one foe.
“I think that Corinth does some good things,” Riggsbee said. “They’ve got some good players. They play hard on film. I think that we can take advantage of some things if the kids stay focused. We’ll be able to prepare for that this week in practice.”
The Trojans will start the season without senior receiver Jaquain Smith, who had surgery for a fractured clavical two weeks ago. He is expected to be sidelined for another month.