So far, so good.
That was the critique of Rolla High School football head coach Willie Howard following the Bulldogs' first week of practice.
Rolla ended the week with a full-contact practice during its annual Gatorade Scrimmage Saturday morning on the newly-turfed Lions Memorial Field.
"The first week was very good," said Howard, entering his third season as RHS head coach. "The weather cooperated and we got a lot done. In the scrimmage I thought the kids responded really well. They were ready to play a game-type situation."
Howard said the scrimmage did little to solve starting questions at both quarterback and linebacker. Senior lefty Joe Drallmeier and sophomore righty Kyle Morris split most of the first- and second-team reps at quarterback. And on defense senior Marquis Reece and junior Brandan Sparks continue to fight for the same starting linebacker spot.
"Both played really well," Howard said of his QBs. "They may well make this decision pretty difficult before its over with. And like at quarterback, Reece and Sparks are competing for a job at linebacker and are making it difficult for us, because they both played well."
The coach also pointed out junior Billy Brookshire was impressive at both running back and middle linebacker. And junior running back Andy Satulla was his usual bullish self on would-be tacklers, showing no problems with his worrisome ankle of a year ago.
"(Senior) Ben Maples ran well (Saturday) and got free on a couple of long runs," Howard said. "Billy Brookshire is kind of a sleeper – he tries to get in the endzone every time he gets the ball. And at fullback Sparks and (sophomore Korey) Pearson do a nice job blocking and opening holes.
"And our defensive line is doing a good job eating blockers up, freeing up our linebackers."
BULLDOG NOTES: Howard reported no injuries after the first week. "None that I know of," he said.
Chad Shockley, hired just last week as a Bulldog assistant coach, will work with wide receivers and special teams this season. Shockley was an all-state player at St. James High and a standout receiver at Missouri S&T.
Rolla now preps for the St. Clair Jamboree, to be held Friday. Action begins at 6 p.m. at St. Clair High School. It's the second straight year RHS has gone to St. Clair for its jamboree.