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Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014

Players eager to compete and evaluate

Saturday, June 25, 2011

sports@standard-democrat.com

SIKESTON -- When it comes down to it, players seem to have the same agenda as their coaches when getting ready for football season.

"We're looking to get better, work on our plays and get chemistry going," Sikeston linebacker/wide receiver Keldon Warfield said. "We need to get prepared for the season."

They look at the positives -- "We love to come out here and play football together," Dexter quarterback Cody Stevens said. "I think we ran it and passed it pretty well. Overall, we did pretty good."

As well as the negatives -- "We looked pretty good but we've got a lot of work to do," Warfield said. "Our offense needs to get better as far as tempo."

But most of all, they like to compete. Especially when it means they get to tackle some old rivals and teams they will for sure see in the regular season.

"We still love playing against (Cape Central)," said Warfield. "We get fired up every time we play against them."

The 2011 SEMO Coaches Association Contact Camp at Sikeston High School ended on Friday after two days of rather intense scrimmages against local high school football teams.

"I really think they just want to compete," Sikeston head coach Kent Gibbs said about a player's mindset when entering into the contact camp setting. "We've been going against each other the last two weeks and they like to have the opportunity to come out here against some other teams and see each other as well as I know the other teams do.

"For them, I know they enjoy the competition and they enjoy the fact that football is just around the corner and we need to work to get better."

Each of the eight teams, Sikeston, Dexter, East Prairie, Charleston, Chaffee, Caruthersville, Jackson and Cape Central, took 15 plays on offense and 15 plays on defense with both varsity and junior varsity squads on a shortened practice field.

The bigger schools, Sikeston, Dexter, Jackson and Cape Central, all scrimmaged against one another while East Prairie, Charleston, Chaffee and Caruthersville took each other on.

It gave Warfield and others a chance to see what other teams will bring to the table next season as well as see where they themselves stack up.

"We're trying to see what we have and what they have," said Warfield. "We need to see what it takes to win."

Warfield's personal evaluation?

"We're a fast team. So we need to use our speed to beat teams."

He also thought the Bulldogs where in tune on defense, which gave the Jackson Indians fits in the last scrimmage of the day on Friday.

"We'll feel pretty confident in our defense," said Warfield. "Our defensive line has been getting a good push off the ball and our linebackers and corners have been flowing pretty good."

Warfield stood in as both a wide receiver and middle linebacker during most of their scrimmages and made big plays in both roles.

On offense, Warfield caught touchdown passes and barreled over the opposition after short passes gave him room to gallop.

Defensively, he was just as potent as he seemed to be in every group tackle. On one occasion he upended a Cape Central player to the delight of teammates, coaches and the fans surround the field.

Wide receiver is a position he's most accustomed to because of his previous experience at the safety position.

But at linebacker, even though it may not have looked like it, he said he still needs more time to feel comfortable.

"I've got big shoes to fill but it feels pretty good." Warfield said about filling in as linebacker, which has been a dynamic role in Sikeston's stout defense the past two years. "At wide receiver, I feel like if I get the ball I can score every time."

Stevens said it sort of felt like the season hadn't ended from last year after the Bearcats surprisingly ended up in the quarterfinal round of the state playoffs last season.

There seemed to be little rust with the Bearcats, who seemed to be very efficient in almost every series.

"Not really any rust," said Stevens. "We try to do the best we can. We run the ball hard, pass the ball hard and just do what we do to try and get better."

All teams will have an abundance of time to improve until the next time they see each other when jamboree season kicks off in August. But for now, teams know what areas they need to improve on and how they compare to others thanks in part to the two day contact camp.

"For us, contact camp is a deal where it gives us a chance to see if we're going to compete and I think we did that," Gibbs said. "We get to see where we stack up against the other teams."