By Joseph Hamrick
The Commerce Journal
The fact that North Lamar High School has twice the student population that Commerce has doesn’t faze Head Football Coach Scott Wells’ confidence in his team.
The Tigers play their season opener at North Lamar on Aug. 30.
Wells said after watching the two-a-days and the first two scrimmages, the senior leadership on his Tigers is one of the best he has had in a while.
“We have a really good group of seniors this year,” he said. “They are much more adaptable than they were in the past.”
Wells said his team fought through the dog days of August like a professional team which means business.
“This is the fastest two-a-days I’ve been a part of,” he said. “It’s a credit to the kids.”
Coming out of the scrimmages and facing a bigger team in North Lamar will be a challenge, Wells said.
“They’re going to be bigger and they have more depth than us,” he said, “They’re going to have a lot of guys who play one side and our players play both sides of the ball.”
Wells said in order to keep his team fresh through the fourth quarter, they have to control the tempo of the game in their favor.
“Big thing we’re going to try to do is defensively, we don’t want to give up big plays and we’ve got to get takeaways,” he said. “Offensively we need to control the pace and tempo of the game. You can’t control the tempo if you don’t have the ball.”
Last year, it was the Tigers’ special teams that won the day against North Lamar. Wells said he expects special teams to play another important role in the season opener.
“That’s going to be the difference in the game,” he said. “It could boil down to who gets the right bounce at the right time.”
Since many of his players will have to play both sides of the ball, Wells said he does not sugarcoat any of his messages to his team about being one of the smallest teams in the district.
“We’re going to have to be tougher than anyone else,” he said.
To help offset the small team, Wells said he has had them conditioning every day to prepare them for the fourth quarter and may pull up some players from Junior Varsity to help offset fatigue.
Wells said his team needs to execute their offensive plays and tackle well in order to defeat North Lamar.
“We’re a pretty good team when we do those two things,” he said. “I’m excited to see how we’re going to do.”