Lee, Hoosac Valley get taste of football action in scrimmage at West Springfield

Hoosac gets the short rushing touchdown in a scrimmage against Lee on Saturday.
WEST SPRINGFIELD — Practicing for a week straight against your teammates in the August sun can wear on even the most avid football player.

Saturday's quad-scrimmage at West Springfield gave players a chance to hit someone that won't be lining up with them when the lights finally kick on in a few weeks.

Hoosac Valley, Lee, Chicopee Comp and West Springfield competed in a three-hour scrimmage session, as teams rotated offense versus defense in two simultaneous half-field scrimmage. Each team rotated through to a new opponent after 10 plays or so. The scrimmage ended with teams competing in a full-field scrimmage in which down and distant were stressed a little more.

Not only are scrimmages a good way to change up a practice routine, but Lee coach Keith Thomson said it's a great way to evaluate your players.

"You come in here, you're going to expect mistakes," he said. "All the teams on the field have been at it a week. We're really trying to separate and see who can help us, put guys in different positions, see who's going to fit in where.

"It's kind of like piecing together a jigsaw puzzle. ... I'm pretty pleased with what I saw. Good competition on the field all across the board."

From Lee's counter-trapping rushing attack, to Comp and West Side's more wide-open spread systems, Hoosac coach Dayne Poirot said facing multiple looks in one session is a great learning tool.

"Just getting out here and seeing a lot of different teams that do different things," he said. "It's a fast-paced environment and it's throwing them right into the fire. We haven't done a ton of contact this week, it's leading up to today.

"It's about being physical, being aggressive and learning where you can fix things and where you can improve."

For Lee and Hoosac, playing against higher divisions teams such as West Side and Comp gives them a taste of playing up, as they prepare for competition in the smaller Division VIII.

Lee safety/wide receiver Ben Harding said he welcomed the change the scrimmage presented.

"It's really nice. We do hitting drills in practice, but seeing your teammate's face makes it harder to hit," he said. "Once you get out and see unfamiliar faces, it makes it a lot more fun and gets you back in the swing of things."

Other notes from the scrimmage:

— Lee running back Lukas Loehr showed big-play ability, breaking off a long run on the first play during a half-field scrimmage against Comp. He capped the drill with a short touchdown run.

— Harding is a ballhawk at safety for Lee. The 6-foot-5 junior covers a lot of ground and has good instincts when the ball is in the air. He had a nice interception on a ball in the right flat versus Comp. The play would've resulted in a touchdown in an actual game. He also showed the willingness to come in from his safety spot and stop the run.

— Hoosac's Steve Stodja is electric with the ball in his hands. Stodja is already an accomplished special teams player, and he has the ability to cause havoc on both sides of the ball. He broke off a long gain on a pass in the flat against West Side. Against Comp, he turned a completion on a short curl into another long gain. He had an interception from his spot in the secondary against Lee as well.

— Both Berkshire County teams did not generate much through the air. Hoosac quarterback Vance Eugene had a 55-yard run against Lee during a full-field scrimmage.

— Homer Winston found Harding for a touchdown pass in the left corner of the endzone against West Side.

— Eugene had a interception against West Side, breaking well on a slant route to make the grab.

— Hoosac's run defense led by Adam Bush was stout throughout.

Reach sports writer Akeem Glaspie at 413-496-6252 or @TheAkeemGlaspie.


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