The Perryville football team has had a run-based offense the past several years, but the coaches may throw a few more passing plays in there for good measure this upcoming fall, if last week was any indication.
Perryville competed in a 7-on-7 camp in Sikeston on Friday, and it was one of the first times for newly-minted head coach Brent Roth to see his players go up against someone not donned in green and white.
“The whole thing was passing work and pass coverage,” Roth said. “Perryville has not participated in something like this for many years. The first thing I did after we finished was ask the kids, ‘Who had actually competed in something like that.’ No one raised their hand. This was a brand new experience for them.”
Perryville competed against Poplar Bluff, Potosi, Charleston, and host Sikeston in a five-team event. Potosi is on the schedule for the 2021 season, while Sikeston is in the same district as the Pirates. While it’s an opportunity to get a sneak peek at some likely opponents, Roth mainly used the day to scout his own players. Perryville brought about 15 skill position players and another seven linemen to the camp.
“I thought it would be a good idea to work out some of the bugs in the playbook and see what worked and what didn’t,” Roth said. “I really wanted to see how our skill players responded to some different things.”
Along with evaluating their wide receivers, Roth also used the day to look at possible options for quarterback, which included senior Luke Bell and junior Aiden McGarvey, who saw much of the playing time under center, while junior Cameron Young also saw a few snaps. One of those three will most likely replace Evan Daugherty who started last season as quarterback.
“Luke and Aiden both had their ups and downs,” Roth said. “There was definitely a learning curve when it came to getting used to that style of play. You could tell when we started that it was different than anything these kids have done before. A lot of coaches don’t like 7-on-7 camps because it doesn’t represent the game of football, but it does have its benefits. However, my coaching staff and I liked what we saw and now it’s just a matter of moving the guys around and putting them in the best places for them to succeed.”
Roth didn’t want to single out any one player, but he did like how Aladdin Garris performed on Friday.
“He kind of impressed us with his ability to catch the ball,” Roth said. “He’s going to be more of a running back for us, but he did come away with some pretty sharp catches.”
The event did keep score, but Roth didn’t want to focus on the final results. However, he did recognize that Perryville scored at least one touchdown on every team.
“I think it’s quite impressive we were able to go down there and put some points on the board and I think we were able to score at least twice on Charleston and Potosi,” Roth said. “Outside of that though, I couldn’t tell you what the actual score was because I concentrated on each individual play.”
While Roth did like plenty of things that went on in the event, he saw a few things to work on when camp rolls around this month.“We have to fine-tune some of our routes,” Roth said. “We had some of the guys running routes too deep and we found a few plays that we ran that we didn’t like, so we will either throw them out or adjust them a little bit.”
While the day was mostly about quarterbacks and wide receivers, there were several “big man challenges” that the Pirate offensive and defensive linemen competed in on Friday. While Perryville did not bring home any awards or medals that day, Roth felt Perryville had two of the best linemen there in Davin Wheeler and Jacob Lyerla.
“We didn’t have as many big guys come down as some of the other schools,” Roth said. “From what I saw and heard we had the best two linemen there. Aside from them, our linemen as a whole showed really well down at the camp, although we may be a little biased.”
While Perryville probably won’t be throwing the ball 30 to 40 times per game, Roth will feel more comfortable throwing the ball in week 1 because of what he saw at the camp.
“We are going to throw the ball, but at the same time, we want to run the ball first,” Roth said. “We have to do both, but this helped us see what we don’t like and continue to hone in on what we do well. However, we won’t be afraid to throw a pass every now and then.”