CRESTVIEW — The Shoal River Middle School football team enters the preseason coming off a strong summer.
Mustang coach Ryan Gillis praised his team for its willingness to get the job done after an impressive scrimmage against Ruckel Middle School on Friday.
"They have a maturity and a dadgum work ethic," he said. "They work hard in the weight room and it's showing off. We were running over people today and they are actually a bigger football team than us.
"They work hard when it's hot. I'd say they've had two bad practices with the heat. When I say bad practices, guess what, you are going to have a bad practice in the heat."
With the season’s beginning just a couple of weeks away, Gillis said the Mustangs are about where he expected them to be at this point.
"We still have a long ways to go, but I like where we are," he said. "We've got a lot of kids that are returning, but at the same time we've got a lot of new kids playing, so it's a good mix.
"It's usually about half and half on offense and defense with new kids and returners. It's usually a one-year turnover. Luckily, we've had a good run of kids that were good enough to start or play in the seventh grade and come back and be a base to build around in the eighth grade."
The Mustangs will have experience at linebacker, but will be young in the secondary. Gillis likes his defensive line that will have one sixth-grader starter.
Now, the Mustangs must finish the preseason strong as they look to the start of the regular season later this month.
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.