Go-routes, shallow crosses and curls.
Some cradled, some overthrown.
Timed water breaks, criss-cross banter and coaches working in the general direction of a manic edge.
Such was Thursday’s landscape at tradition-rich Hoyle Field, where gridsters from Warren County, Southeast Collegiate Prep Academy, Northampton County and Roanoke Rapids staged the second of four 7-on-7 workouts designed to air the leather and get a jump on the fall.
And yes, it was very much like older, friendlier, non-virus times.
Slow, then on-go
Roanoke Rapids, bolstered by the presence of many 2021 graduates, shook off a sluggish start to find its form, primarily in the hands of skill players Matthew MacNichol, Wayne Wilkins and Austin Geary.
“Seven on seven is where we should shine,” RRHS head coach Chris Lyons said of his bunch, many of whom just returned from spring baseball. “We’ve got great receivers, with good hands — we’ve got playmakers … starting off, like I said, we did not look good at all, but we turned it around.”
Ultimately, however, a familiar refrain carried the Yellow Jacket day.
“We’ve just got to make plays,” Lyons said. “It comes down to making plays. Our athletes against their athletes, who make plays?”
There was perhaps no more welcome sight on Thursday than that of SCPA, back between the hashmarks for the first time since Nov. 8, 2019.
For those scoring at home, that’s a span of 594 days — an eternity, if you will, in terms of an offseason.
“I just wanted to see them compete,” fourth-year head coach Antione Alston said of his approach to the event.
“I told the linebackers I wanted to see them jam the receivers on the line of scrimmage, like the slot receivers … I tried to keep it real simple, because we’re a very young team.”
But one which enjoyed its fair share of highlight-worthy moments, including accurate deep throws by Tahir Jackson, and sharp catches by Tyrone Williams.
Welcome back, indeed.
Jag duo shines
Demarjay Lassiter and Jamari Blake.
Valley football enthusiasts would be wise to recall those names when the regular season arrives, as evidenced by the number of splashy plays registered by the duo on Thursday.
“Having those two out there yesterday, in the open field, and being a threat on both sides, is just something else that can just open up the run game a little bit more for us,” Northampton County head coach George Privott said of the twosome, which worked in solid rhythm with junior quarterback Anthony Harding. “And then, with Harding’s accuracy, his arm strength, it’s another weapon that we’ll consider.”
As well the Jaguars should, given the pair’s ability to make game-changing plays from anywhere on the field, regardless of down and distance.