Winslow High School football coach Matt Gracey came away from the preseason scrimmage on Friday in Eagar against Round Valley High School pleased with the performance of his team. The Bulldogs controlled the line of scrimmage on both offense and defense.
Gracey said on Saturday that he was impressed with every player who made the trip to Eagar.
“They all did a good job and you could name every one of them if you wanted to do that,” he said. He did mention several that were especially outstanding.
Sophomore quarterback Tim Merritt was impressive in his first varsity start. Gracey said that he made only one mistake in 30 plays.
Others who were mentioned as being impressive were two way players Orlando Vargas (senior running back/line backer), Mike Zaitz (senior transfer running back/linebacker), Carlos Quezada (senior receiver/linebacker), Nick Anderson (junior line man) and Justin Powell (sophomore tackle).
The Bulldogs held a good Round Valley team scoreless in the scrimmage while posting at least two scores themselves. Official scores are not kept in controlled scrimmages and each team runs a set number of plays so that each gets to practice its offensive and defensive squads an equal amount of time.
Gracey said that he thought the first unit offense averaged approximately eight yards per play, an especially impressive performance for a team missing three key players.
Winslow was without the services of junior quarterback/defensive back Jordan Payne, senior receiver/defensive back Lucas Armenta and junior receiver/defensive back Josh Stago.
Payne may play in the season opener against Camp Verde on Friday and is expected to play in the home opener against Snowflake on Sept. 3. Stago will undergo surgery this week and expected to return by the fourth game of the season. Armenta is not expected to return until the sixth game of the season.
Winslow will open its regular season at Camp Verde on Friday. The Cowboys are coming off a losing season that was riddled with injuries. The two teams last played at Winslow in the first round of the state play-offs in 2002. Winslow won that contest 20-14 in a hard fought game.
According to Gracey, the Cowboys will be a good test. Most of the players who were injured last season are back and healthy. Camp Verde runs a double wing offense with excellent power backs. Kick-off is slated for 7 p.m. in Camp Verde.