Although Fort Smith Northside bears little resemblance to neighboring Southside in either scheme or philosophy, Conway coach Clint Ashcraft considered the Grizzlies a good preseason scrimmage opponent.
The Wampus Cats and the Grizzlies scrimmaged Tuesday night at Centennial Bank Field at John McConnell Stadium. The teams went at each other in a game-like format for a half, then each ran 30 offensive plays and 30 defensive plays in a more controlled format the second half. When score was kept in the first half, Conway prevailed 31-17.
"I like scrimmaging Northside because they are really a fast-paced team and they can wear you out," Ashcraft said. "They get in position so fast to run their plays, it’s a great test for you defense. It’s a good team to play at this stage to get into game shape. They don’t have many similarities to Southside. We didn’t scrimmage Northside to prepare for an opponent; we played them to get in better shape coming out of our preseason work."
He said the Grizzlies exposed some areas that the CHS team can get better in preparation for its season opener at Southside on Sept. 2.
"One thing we are going to focus on the next week is to be more aggressive and physical," Ashcraft said. "One thing we saw that we can improve on is having a more physical attitude."
The coach was pleased with senior quarterback Tyler Langley and his experienced leadership.
"I also thought we tackled well," he said. "Northside has some good athletes. When they had the ball in open field, we tackled well."
After reviewing the video of the scrimmage, the Cats’ focus will turn to Northside.
"We’ve got some new fades at some positions that will take awhile for them to get comfortable," he said. "Our motto is to get a little better each day. If we do that, we should come along well as the season progresses and we’ll be prepared for the playoffs."