First-year Ethel coach Adam Smith was upbeat after a 24-12 loss to J.Z. George in a scrimmage, pointing out that the Tigers did not score more than seven points in any game during a winless 2019 season.
“So it's at least an improvement moving forward,” he said. “The kids had to learn a new offense, a new defense and a new coach, all the while not being able to have spring practice or a spring game to get any kind of preparation. All things considered, we played pretty well.”
The scrimmage was conducted like a jamboree, with the teams alternating possessions. Ethel's touchdowns came on runs by Kentrell Dotson, a freshman, and Mike Miller, a sophomore.
Smith was especially pleased with the play of senior linebacker Hayden Graves and freshman quarterback Marcus Jones.
“He showed a lot of poise,” Smith said of Jones. “He was able to manage the game, keep everything under control. Sometimes young guys have a hard time adjusting. He did a fine job for us. I was really proud of that.”
The Tigers open the season Friday with a home game against Hamilton. That was Ethel's closest game last year, a 7-0 loss. As the score would indicate, it was a defensive struggle, with both teams under 200 yards in offense.
“I know the kids are excited to play it,” Smith said. “They felt like they should have won that game.”
He plans to keep it simple. “We're gong to try to run the ball and control the clock. When you try to change things to keep up with somebody else, you kind of shoot yourself in the foot.”