After the way the 2012 season went for the Sonoraville football team, the Phoenix were looking for any positives they could find this spring.
On Friday at their annual spring game to wrap up spring practice, the Phoenix saw just that — positives.
The game ended in a 7-7 tie between the red and black squads, but there were bright spots throughout the scrimmage on offense and defense.
Sonoraville head coach Roger Gentry, who will enter his third season at the helm this fall, said he was encouraged by what he saw from his team on Friday.
“It was good to see after we split the teams up pretty equally that you have some good things on both sides,” said Gentry. “We’re excited about things, and the kids are excited about things. They’re goal is to try to make one of those top four spots in our region for the playoffs.
“It’s been a great spring. I’ve really enjoyed being around them and coaching them. They’ve listened, they wanted to learn and now it’s time to transition into the weight room this summer and get stronger. I’m looking forward to next football season.”
The black team got on the board first on Friday on 27-yard touchdown pass from Dakota French to Clark Johnson. French then added the PAT to make it 7-0.
After each defense forced several empty possessions back and forth, the red team scored their lone TD late in the scrimmage on a one-yard run by quarterback Griff Bryant. French, who handled all kicking duties, added another extra point for the final score.
Gentry said he liked seeing the way the players stepped up and competed in the game.
“I saw that today,” said Gentry. “I actually saw several guys that when they get in an atmosphere like this when people are watching that the light kind of turns on for them. I saw something a little different from them.
“We’re working five quarterbacks, with two solid and three young guys. Defensively is where we’re really looking to improve as far getting to the ball and being able to line up correctly. And we saw several of those things today.”
There were several stellar plays on defense, the first coming from Andrew Slaton on an interception in the end zone for the black team after the red offense had driven inside the black’s five-yard line on their first possession.
Also recording interceptions in the scrimmage were Jack Miles for the red team and Austin Pasley for the black team.
The Phoenix are coming off a 1-9 campaign last fall so the big goal for spring was to put that memory in the rear view mirror and focus on getting some positive momentum going before in 2013.
“Coming out of last season, it was kind of a gloomy feeling around the team,” said Gentry. “Then we went in the weight room and started working, and when we got to spring practice, we saw some good things.
“It’s been a pretty uplifting thing for the kids and us as coaches to see that we’re able to move people around in some different spots and do some good things. Coming out of spring practice, we’re excited, and we have some momentum going downhill.”
Gentry and the Phoenix will now turn their attention to summer workouts where Gentry said it will be “very important for the kids to show up and get stronger” as well as to work on some scheme and 7-on-7 drills.
Sonoraville will start practice on July 25 before their annual “Camp Gentry” on Aug. 1-4. They scrimmage Armuchee on the road on Aug. 16 and then open the regular season at Pickens on Aug. 30.