By RYAN HERMAN
Scott Cloninger doesn’t put much stock into preseason scrimmages, but that doesn’t mean his Lincolnton football team isn’t getting the most out of them.
The Wolves held a four-team jamboree on Saturday, and Cloninger saw some things in a pair of games against Cherryville and Watauga that he liked, and some he didn’t.
But with a little less than two weeks until the real action begins on Aug. 23, Cloninger isn’t going to use Saturday as a measuring stick for his team’s season.
“It’s a scrimmage. I’m not going to worry too much about a scrimmage. We didn’t even tell the offensive line what fronts (the defense) was going to bring, and we didn’t tell our defense what the other team was going to do,” Cloninger said. “They were learning on the run. That’s something good because people are going to change things, and when people change things you better recognize it and pick it up.”
The biggest positive Cloninger said he recognized was how, compared to previous seasons, much better shape his players are in.
“I think I saw that we are in pretty good shape condition-wise. I think we’re ahead of that (where we were at) last year,” Cloninger said. “In years past we’ve been a little bit out of shape.”
From an individual player standpoint, the veteran coach was really impressed with senior running back Isaac Vargas.
Vargas is a transfer student from California who has been at Lincolnton for over a year but has never played football.
Vargas scored a touchdown from about 40 yards out on his first carry on Saturday.
“I saw some things out of him. I told (the team) last night after we talked, I said, ‘That kid can play.’” Cloninger said. “I said (to Vargas), ‘Son, that’ll be a story you can tell your family in 20 years.’”
About the only thing Cloninger noticed that needs improvement is the play of his secondary, which is a small unit size-wise and there isn’t a lot of depth, he said.
Maiden also participated in the jamboree, but its varsity team didn’t play Lincolnton since the two are conference foes this season, Cloninger said.