These last two weeks are vital for football teams all across the state.

Many of the teams in Faulkner County are hosting an intrasquad scrimmages before a controlled scrimmage against another opponent next week. Greenbrier hosted its annual Blue/White scrimmage Friday, and the Wampus Cat Steak-Out, Conway’s annual dinner followed by a scrimmage, is set for tonight. 

These intrasquad scrimmages are good for the public to come out and support the product on the field that will be representing each respective school this fall. However, the proven starters are not going to get many reps. Usually, that’s how it turns out, but there are some exceptions. These scrimmages kind of remind me of the first or second preseason games in the National Football League. The guys you want to see a lot of usually may only go for a series, no more than two. But, I definitely understand why this is the case. No. 1, it wouldn’t make any sense to get a penciled-in starter injured in a game that doesn’t count.

One of the biggest reasons that many of the studs don’t get many snaps on the high school level at a annual preseason intrasquad scrimmage is because of an addition. Several years ago, the Arkansas Activities Association started having benefit games. These games fall in between a intrasquad scrimmage and a real game, so teams go out with extra attention on winning the many battles throughout the course of the evening. Coaches usually start these benefit games with their 1’s, which is the first group to hit the field on Friday nights. And, then teams substitute their second units, and third units as the scrimmage goes on. 

Usually, starters don’t spend a significant time on the field, but it’s long enough to work up a good sweat, and get something on video tape. The games are a good tool for players to go over their strengths and weaknesses before that first kickoff in Week 1. Sometimes a player that has flown underneath the radar in two-a-days may make an impact against another team. Coaches are not finished evaluating talent and noticing which players are going to rise up against competition right before the first game. Well, really a good coach is never done evaluating talent. But, these scrimmages and games give plenty of kids an opportunity to step up to the plate and produce. 

These games also gives us a little appetizer before the main course is served, beginning Week 1.

(Michael Allen is a staff writer at the Log Cabin Democrat. He can be reached by phone or e-mail at 505-1234 or mike.allen@thecabin.net)