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Positive grades after first St. Paul scrimmage

Mark Hazelwood • Updated Aug 13, 2018 at 11:32 AM

NORWALK — A lot of good things, and a lot of things to still improve.

That is typically what most high school football coaches see when finally going head-to-head with another team for the first time. And that was exactly what longtime St. Paul coach John Livengood took away from Saturday’s scrimmage at Keystone.

“That’s what you have scrimmages for,” Livengood said. “You get to put on film and see what you’re doing well and build on that. And it also shows the areas we need to improve and work hard at to get better.

“There was plenty of both (from Saturday),” he added.

Still, a fresh cast of faces earned positive grades following the scrimmage against the Div. IV Wildcats on Saturday.

“Keystone is a bigger school and a well-coached team that is challenge for us every year,” Livengood said.

St. Paul graduated 15 seniors from last season’s 13-1 team that reached the Div. VII state semifinals and was Associated Press state poll champions.

“I was happy with how (quarterback) Jake (Griffin) played,” Livengood said. “He did a nice job of running the offense for his first time out. He’s been waiting in wings behind Nick (Lukasko) for the last two years. This was his opportunity to step forward under center for the first time, and I thought he did nice job.

“Both Eric Crabbs and Gavin Starcher did a nice job catching the ball, and our running after catches was pretty good,” he added. “Defensively our linebacking corps, and both Cam Caizzo and Noah Good ran the ball really well.”

With the two-a-days portion of preseason camp over, the Flyers turn their attention to their annual scrimmage vs. Edison — scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Friday at Whitney Field.

The two teams have been scrimmaging for more than a quarter century straight, not long after the Chargers left the Firelands Conference for the Sandusky Bay Conference.

With Edison in the midst of its best stretch of playoff football in program history, Livengood said his team looks forward to the test.

“Edison is one of the top programs around here, and they are always a challenge for us,” he said. “We need to match up with them physically. They are always a real physical team. That is the one thing with Edison, you will be tested physically.

“And while you don’t necessarily game plan for a scrimmage, but yet we still have to be option sound on defense to face the triple,” Livengood added. “We’ll have to prepare for that and make sure we cover those areas well.”

While the Edison scrimmage will serve as the final live tuneup prior to the Aug. 25 season opener vs. St. Mary Central Catholic in Sandusky, Livengood said there is no one specific area to improve the most.

“In each area we want to continue to get better than the day before,” he said. “There isn’t one area in particular that is a glaring weakness. We have to make some improvements across the board.

“That’s always the goal,” he added. “Improve the technique and just get better and improve every day.”

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