Scrimmage: Cedar Creek at Sterlington, 6 p.m. (V/JV)
Football is a team sport, but preseason outings give individuals an opportunity to shine. A strong showing could lead to increased playing time or even a spot in the starting lineup.
Sterlington goes into Thursday's 6 p.m. scrimmage against Cedar Creek with multiple positions unsettled. Both the varsity and junior varsity will be in action as the Panthers host the Cougars.
For second-year coach Lee Doty, identifying who fits where takes precedent over winning and losing in preseason outings.
"We're trying to find some players," Doty said. "I'm ready for us to get out there and see what we have. I want to see if we can tackle and block. We're going in with big question marks, so we'll be looking at everything tomorrow. There are a lot of things I'm anxious to see tomorrow night."
"It's a chance for us to get better without worrying about winning or losing," Doty continued. "It's the same way with the jamboree in my opinion. You don't get but two opportunities to play without worrying about power points and winning. We'll play some guys we want to see in certain situations and evaluate them on film."
For the players, it's time to see how months of offseason preparation translates on to the field.
"Take somebody like (linebacker) Willie Holloway, who had a great summer and preseason camp — I want to see how that carries over," Doty said. "(Defensive end) Justin Fuller has had a really good camp. I'm excited about seeing him tomorrow. I'm anxious to see how our offensive line does tomorrow night."
Of course, the obvious position under the microscope is quarterback where Brody Green and Hayes Crockett have been splitting reps.
"I'm hoping one of the quarterbacks will separate himself tomorrow night," Doty said. "If not, we'll continue it on with the jamboree."
It has been eight months since the Panthers lined up against an opponent. Doty says the coaches are as eager as the players to look across the ball and see someone else.
"It gets redundant after a couple of weeks," Doty admitted about preseason camp. "The offense knows what the defense is doing, and the defense knows what the offense is doing. When you have a check at the line, the defense is all over it because they know what's coming. It's time to move forward."
Sterlington will make its final preseason appearance vs. Bastrop in the Bayou Jamb at ULM on Friday, Aug. 24 at 8 p.m. The Panthers open the regular season at home vs. West Ouachita on Friday, Aug. 31.