WINSLOW, Ariz. - The Winslow High School Bulldogs football team saw its first action against another squad on Friday in a controlled scrimmage against the Show Low Cougars at Emil Nasser Stadium. The Bulldogs have been practicing since Aug. 3 which is probably the same as the Cougars have been doing. The scrimmage had each team run a given number of offensive plays in special situation. There was no kicking game and no official scoring of the scrimmage. Coaches were allowed on the field to communicate and coach their players throughout the scrimmage.
The Bulldogs will be aiming to repeat as 3A North Region champions and get deep into the 3A Conference playoffs. The team will miss such stalwarts as the versatile Stacey Berg and tough Rhett Butler but should have enough talent to challenge for the regional title and be legitimate contenders for a state crown.
Junior quarterback Kraig Shirley was outstanding last season and is, like Berg, a very talented multi-sport athlete who rises to the occasion against top notch competition. Chayse Russell was an excellent running back last season and the Bulldogs should be talented on both offense and defense.
The Cougars are members of the always tough 3A East Region, perennial home of state champions and serious contenders for that crown.
The controlled scrimmage was Winslow's first test against some very tough non-regional competition. The Cougars will be followed by the Round Valley Elks in the first regular season game at 7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 28 at Emil Nasser Stadium. The Elks are coached by former Bulldog mentor Russ Semore and are always threats for both regional and state titles. Semore usually has a pass oriented team that also plays good defense and can run the ball as well as throw it.
The next non-regional game early will be on Friday, Sept. 4 at Emil Nasser Stadium against the Flagstaff Sinagua Mustangs. Sinagua is a 4A Classification team which has improved steadily over the years and should be a real chore for the Bulldogs.
The final non-regional game will be at Snowflake on Friday, Sept. 11. The Lobos are also coached by a former Bulldog mentor, Adam Larsen, and are members of the tough 3A East Region. The rivalry between Bulldogs and Lobos is a long and fiercely contested one.
The first regional contest will also be on the road at Ganado against the Hornets. The Hornets are said to have a talented quarterback transfer from Texas and could be one of Winslow's chief obstacles in their quest for another 3A North Region title.