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Scrimmage a building block for Pine Tree

By Hayden Henry
Aug. 16, 2013 at 10 p.m.

Pine Tree entered its first scrimmage of the season on Friday with several questions.

And while some spots remain at large, Pirate head coach Derek Fitzhenry sawtheir first scrimmage as a successful building block as Pine Tree inches closer to a highly anticipated season.

Now it's time for the Pirates to study.

"Film study is one of the greatest things you have," Fitzhenry said. "Having this film where the coaches can look and the kids can look at themselves going against someone else and see how they perform.

"There's so much learning that takes places from this scrimmage to the next because the kids can see themselves playing with a higher intensity against someone that isn't their buddy."

Pine Tree was able to move the ball throughout the practice against Pittsburg, converting first downs through the air and on the ground.

With starter Caleb Chumley sidelined with a toe injury, Dalvin Manns assumed the first-team role at quarterback, a spot that he's been preparing and competing for throughout the Pirates' preseason workouts. Mason Hays, who returns from a breakout season at receiver in 2012, saw time at quarterback and receiver on Friday.

"They both did a great job, as expected," Fitzhenry said. "They've been doing this all year so they know the offense."

Manns completed his first three passes of the day with the first-team offense, including a 34-yard strike to Hays. Junior Quay Ward and junior Kenny Buffin also impressed in the backfield with Buffin closing out Pine Tree's opening touchdown drive with a six-yard run.

Hays showed the wheels when the second team offense took the field, taking a draw play 58 yards up the middle of the field for another Pine Tree touchdown.

"We know what both of them can do running the ball as well," Fitzhenry said. "Dalvin can run the ball too but we stayed away from that today because he is our number one guy back there. He's a big, powerful, 6-2, 230-pound guy."

Fitzhenry was also impressed with the Pirate defense, especially the secondary and linebackers, two positions that had question marks entering the day.

The offensive line still remains an area for the Pirates to focus on, but Fitzhenry said the pieces are there and it's time to put them together.

"We've got some talent and size there and some good feet so it's there but we've got to get those guys gelling together as a unit," he said. "That's the biggest focus right now is those guys coming together and living up to the potential that they all have."

Fitzhenry was pleased with the Pirates' effort all over the field on Friday.

"I really want us to work on our spirit as a team, our passion in how we approach things," Fitzhenry said. "We've got a workman's attitude right now and that's great but this is a high intensity game and you've got to have the passion to go along with it.

"We've put in the work and have some good things going and it's time to start enjoying ourselves and let loose."

Entering his first season at Pittsburg, veteran coach Dickey Meeks said Friday's scrimmage was just what his Pirates needed.

"There were some things I saw that I liked and some things that I saw that I didn't," Meeks said. "We needed to do this just to see, I think it was great for both teams.

"The film will show. Now we don't have to tell them, we can show them."

Follow Hayden Henry on Twitter: @hayden_h



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