NEW CASTLE —
Football coaches have provided a week of direction and instruction to their players.
Saturday, the players got their chance to display what they learned in the first of two scrimmages. All eight Lawrence County schools hit the field to compete.
First-year coaches Mike Commesso (Shenango) and Pat Cuba (Laurel) got their first look at their respective teams against a different school. Cuba served most recently as the Neshannock head coach from 2007 to 2011.
Commesso, though, is in his first season as a varsity head coach. He’s a 1991 Mohawk High graduate.
“I was just excited to get out there with the guys,” Commesso said. “I’ve been looking forward to getting on the field. It was more excitement than anything on my part.”
The ’Canes opened the scrimmage schedule under second-year coach Joe Cowart in positive fashion. New Castle squared off against quad-A foes Seneca Valley and Erie McDowell.
“I thought we played with good energy and effort,” Cowart said. “That’s all you can ask for in the first scrimmage.
“I think Seneca Valley and Erie McDowell are going to be pretty good football teams at the quad-A level. It was definitely a good scrimmage for us.”
The size of the oppositions made the scrimmage feel like a quality one for Cowart.
“I thought our offensive line and defensive line played well,” Cowart said. “We played a couple of teams where I don’t know if we’ll see teams that big across the board during the season.
“I thought our lines really met the challenge and played good, strong, physical football.”
The second scrimmage is looming Friday, but New Castle will be working on many things this week.
“We will begin game preparation for the opener against (Parkway Conference rival) Central Valley; our overall scouting and preparation for those guys,” Cowart said. “We’ll tweak a few things offensively and defensively and try and get better.”