After two-plus weeks of drilling against each other, St. Paul football players got to go up against a different opponent on Thursday.
The Flyers hosted Keystone in a practice scrimmage that featured each team rotating 10-play offensive series that lasted two-plus hours at Whitney Field in Norwalk.
St. Paul had some solid defensive stands and limited big plays by the Wildcats, and were also able to rip off a few lengthy touchdown runs by Cam Caizzo among others.
“I think we’re going to see a lot of things we need to get better at, but there were a lot of things we’re happy about,” St. Paul coach John Livengood said. “Really, at this point I wasn’t sure where we are at with things because all we’ve been doing is going against ourselves. We saw a lot of positive things, but a lot of things to improve on.”
Asked for an immediate takeaway, Livengood pointed to the ground game and the defense as a whole.
“Our backs ran hard and the line opened up some nice holes for those guys,” he said. “I thought defensively we were very sound, and as the scrimmage wore on, our linebackers did a nice job adjusting to things.
“I was really happy with our run defense,” Livengood added. “The secondary got better as the night went on, too. A lot of positive things all the way around, but a lot of areas when we get a chance to watch it again we know we’ll have to get better at doing. That’s what the next couple days will be for.”
Keystone is a Division IV program that went 5-5 last season with four losses to state playoff teams. The ‘Cats return a number of players and are expecting a strong season.
“I knew this would be a pretty good test for us,” Livengood said. “They have high expectations and have a good team. Their quarterback was a nice athlete and they are huge up front.
“It was a good test for us, and that was the biggest thing,” he added. “Going against someone else that is a quality opponent who will expose our weaknesses and show us where we need to work at and get better is what we wanted.”
Next Friday, the Flyers will scrimmage Edison that will include a live one-half setting in Milan. St. Paul then opens the regular season at 6 p.m. on Aug. 31 vs. Northgate High School (Pa.) at Whitney Field.
“Edison is always a hard-hitting, physical scrimmage against a really well-coached team,” Livengood said.