The biggest winners at the 27th Wampus Cat Steak-Out on Saturday were spirit and nerves.
A continuously changing crowd that filled about three-fourths of the home side of John McConnell Stadium turned out for the series on intrasquad scrimmages among Conway Public Schools teams. Several booths were set up in a carnival-like atmosphere in which fans could purchase Wampus Cat T-shirts, sunglasses, flip-flops, caps and logo magnets.
The atmosphere may have created to an erratic scrimmage by the Conway varsity that had four touchdowns, four interceptions, a couple of fumbles, several dropped balls and an array of penalties.
"I think a lot of it was nerves," Conway coach Clint Ashcraft said. "I was really impressed with the turnout and some of the kids getting that many eyes on them for the first time were nervous, particularly among the younger players."
The young members of the Wampus Cat varsity got the most playing time.
"Our first-team offense and defense probably played 10 snaps each," Ashcraft said. "We held them out by design because we have a benefit game with Fort Smith Northside on Tuesday."
Ashcraft was pleased with his special teams, which had a session at the beginning of the scrimmage.
"We have worked really hard on our special teams and they looked good," he said.
He was also impressed by some of what the defenders were able to accomplish.
"The defense in practice hasn’t been getting to the ball very well, but tonight I thought we broke to the ball and ran to the ball very well."
The benefit game against Northside will begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Centennial Bank Field and John McConnell Stadium.
"All our focus turns now to Northside, nobody else," said Ashcraft, whose team opens at home Sept. 3 against defending 7A champion Fort Smith Southside.
NINTH GRADE: The two Conway ninth-grade teams will join two teams from Russellville and one from Springdale in a jamboree-type scrimmage Monday at the stadium. The series of scrimmages will begin at 5:30 p.m.