Because Southern Boone is absolutely looking to take it the North Callaway varsity football team in both teams season opener on Aug. 18, the squad went to the four-team Fayette Jamboree at Central Methodist University on Friday.
In that first scrimmage against Slater, Quarterback Tully Thomsen and the offense scored twice, the second of which came on the final play. The North Callaway defense then followed suit by keeping Slater from reaching the end zone, but because of the format of the event, no statistics or scores were kept.
"I think we were anxious to compete. We had a littler bit of butterflies there," said head coach Kevin O'Neal. "We fixed things as we git going. We do need to learn to start a little bit better. I really wasn't pleased with how we started, but we got better as the game went on."
In their second scrimmage the Thunderbirds fumbled on their third play, and because host Fayette made the recovery, the squad had to start over from the 40 yard line. That was far from North Callaways defining moment in this matchup, though, as they came back and scored a touchdown just six plays later.
"Our defense played with a lot more intensity in that second scrimmage. In the first one they came out a little flat, a little unsure, but a lot of intensity by them created some turnovers," O'Neal said. "We're going to lean our defense this year, so we need them to play strong."
That just left Harrisburg on the slate and the North Callaway defense was hitting its stride at this point. The end result was several fourth down conversions for Harrisburg were thwarted despite the fact T-birds defensive coordinator Ross Rosebaum used multiple lineups to get the job done.
"As a head coach you're never satisfied, so I think we've got some things we've got to work on," said O'Neal. "I think we're going to see it on film. I don't question our effort. There are just some little things that we've got to clean up."
Next up for the Thunderbirds is the season opener at home against Southern Boone on Friday. Last year the Eagles had a record of 9-3 overall and began 2016 by defeating North Callaway 48-20.
"Southern Boone is a great team. Coach (Trent) Tracy does a great job there," O'Neal said. "We're going to have our work cut out for us."