When Fulton took the field at North Callaway Wednesday night for a 7-on-7 varsity football scrimmage, you could feel the tension between plays coming from the Hornets huddle.
On the other side of the ball the Thunderbird's atmosphere was much more relaxed and open so the players didn't have to worry about making mistakes and instead just went out and put their instincts to the test.
"This is just a friendly scrimmage, but I've been very pleased with what we've done so far this summer," said coach Kevin O'Neal. "We've definitely spent some time in the weight room. Tonight we just want to get better at football. Get better at running routes, throwing balls and come together as a team. We want to make sure we're working together."
One change this squad is trying to make is getting used to the fact quarterback Milo Henry was lost to graduation. Now the man trying to wear that mantle is Tully Thomsen, who also plays for the basketball team and is heading into his sophomore season.
"That's a big spot to fill. Tully Thomsen has been working really hard this summer at occupying that spot," O'Neal said. "It's just next man up. The old cliche'. We've also got younger kids who've been coming in and working their tail off and are eager for an opportunity."
While this is the second event listed for the football team on the Summer Activity Athletics Schedule on the North Callaway sports website, the team has plenty to look forward to after the high school dead period takes place next week. This includes high school football camp from July 10-14 stating at 6:00 p.m., on July 12th the squad has another 7-on-7 scrimmage slated and the Parent/player/coach fall sports rules meeting takes place July 17 at 7:30 p.m.
"We're going to work hard and do the best we can. We always have high expectations for these kids," said O'Neal. "(Our players) do a good job of coming out and working hard. I think we should have a solid year. I'm excited to get the season started."
The format for this event was actually two-fold and started with O'Neal splitting the players he had on hand into two groups and had the older athletes face off with Fulton on the side of the field closest to the parking lot. Shortly there after the Missouri Military Academy arrived and scrimmaged the other half of the Thunderbird's on the far side of the field.
"We've been building a tradition here at North Callaway that coach (and current Athletic Director Mike) Emmons started and I was fortunate enough to inherit," O'Neal said. "We play good, hard nosed football and ou kids come to play every Friday night. It should be exciting football to watch."