COVINGTON - The time to see what the local high school football teams have on the gridiron is tonight as they square off against another team for the first time this season.
Five of the local teams will tune up for their Aug. 29 season openers in scrimmages tonight.
Alcovy has already participated in its scrimmage against Jackson-Atlanta, which changed its name this year from Southside High.
Eastside at Heritage
Heritage's Chad Frazier is going to keep things simple against a very quick and experienced Eastside team.
"We'll focus on the basics - alignment, blocking and tackling and hustle," Frazier said. "They have a high level of talent this year."
A lot of the focus for the Patriots is going to be on the younger players. Frazier is hoping to see how much they've developed mentally during the offseason.
He also wants to give his team a feel of the speed they'll be facing on game nights.
"It's hard to get that look during the week vs. scout teams," he said.
McIntosh at Rockdale
Mike Etheridge will be the third coach to lead the Bulldogs on the field in as many years. The lack of consistency is something he will have to overcome.
What Etheridge wants to see is how his new team is going to react to game-type situations.
"It will also be good to see someone else instead of ourselves," he said. "We want to see if they (our players) can line up in our right formations and adjust the way they were coached to do on defense."
The Chiefs are going to give Rockdale a good chance to see if they are able to make the correct adjustments on both sides of the ball.
"They are an I (formation) and one-back offense, so we will have to make a lot of adjustments. They are a 3-5 defense, which gave us a lot to get ready for," Etheridge said.
What Etheridge really wants to see is how much the offensive and defensive lines have improved.
"They have made progress, but we want to see how far they've gone since spring in a game situation," he said. "The main thing that we want to do is execute and do what we do well."
Newton at Shiloh
Last year, the Rams struggled with their running game.
Tonight, Newton coach Nick Collins is hoping to see an improvement from his ground attack.
"I'm hoping to get our kids some confidence for one and then we need to establish, our run game," he said.
The players Collins will keep his eye on are quarterback Tyree Williams and right tackle Tim Aiken.
"We need to find out real quick if (Williams) can make the plays needed to run our offense. Tim Aiken is one I want to see against someone else," Collins said.
Another person of interest for Collins is offensive lineman Fred Smith.
"I want to see him block," he said.
Besides looking at a few key players and positions, the Rams coaching staff will also be assessing some of their younger players.
"Were looking at how our young players handle competition and how they make adjustments on the run," Collins said. "We will simply work on our basic stuff, running the ball and our three-step pass game on offense and our base defense."
Salem at Sandy Creek
What makes Sandy Creek so appealing for Salem coach Chad Estes is that the Patriots are a quality opponent with a playoff experience.
Sandy Creek is going to be able to give Salem a good indication of the type of team it has this year with only eight returning starters from last year's playoff team.
"It is going to be exciting to see how our young players perform on the big stage," Estes said. "It is a trial run for the first game the next week."
Aside from getting ready for next week, Estes also wants to see how the lack of veteran starters will affect the level of communication between the coaches and the players.
While seeing what he has on offense and defense, what Estes is also interested in how his kicking team will perform.
"We are playing the first three quarters like a real game with live special teams," Estes. "I want to see how well we do in the special teams department."
Manny Fils can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tonight's prep scrimmages
Eastside at Heritage, 7:30 p.m.
McIntosh at Rockdale, 7:30 p.m.
Salem at Sandy Creek, 7:30 p.m.
Newton at Shiloh, 7:30 p.m.