WENATCHEE — For the Wenatchee Panther football team, summer camp is all about playing. A scrimmage camp is what it is called. It was Monday through Thursday this past week.
This is the 22nd year of the camp. Panther Head Coach Scott Devereaux said this is his 15th camp. Years ago, Devereaux said the coaches talked about what would work best. Scrimmaging is what they came up with.
“You get to coach your own kids, unlike the college camps where there is a lot of college players coaching guys. You get to run what you want to run. You can use a quick whistle. The first contact on the ball carrier, the whistles blow,” Devereaux said. “Quarterbacks aren’t live unless you want your quarterback live. You can go really fast if you want or you can blow the whistle and get your guys lined up while the other coach waits.
It is a learning camp, Devereaux said, but pretty much game speed until first contact. You scrimmage one team in the morning, then two different teams in the afternoon. It is a full-on 7-on-7 scrimmage, pass offense versus pass defense.
“I get see a lot of different defenses and different coverages, so you run those plays that should be effective against those fronts. As a defense, you see all kinds of different offenses. You work on your basic plays and try to execute them,” he said.
Sure, there are some rivalries. They played league rivals Sunnyside and Davis one afternoon. Devereaux said you can’t show them all your tricks, but you do want to see how your team matches up.
They also scrimmaged against Puyallup, one of the top teams in the state the past couple of years.
“They are really good at what they do. You get a chance to compete against one of the better teams in the state,” he said. “You’re not going to get away with tricking them. You have to execute your best stuff.”
At this time of year, Devereaux said he doesn’t have his entire playbook installed. It is basically a chance to get a bunch of reps at what you hope is your base offense and defense.
Certainly, there are new offensive plays added each year, but Devereaux said you want to adjust your offense and defense to your strengths.
“We don’t throw out everything. We knew we’re a gap run team. We’re going to stick with that. We’re going to tweak some things and add play action on certain stuff if you run the ball well. We make adjustments as needed. It stays very similar to what you think your base offense and defense should be,” he said.
The offense and defense performed well, he said. They played a lot of sophomores. Overall, Devereaux said his team got better every day. It was a successful camp.
He thought the offensive line played well. The more reps they got, the better they became. The pass protection was good. Senior defensive end Chase Loidhammer had a good camp, he said. Loidhammer was an all-conference defensive end a year ago. Junior quarterback Camden Sirmon had a good camp as did senior tight end Riley Kunz, the Harvard signee. Kunz was sidelined with shin injury the last day and a half.
Senior running back and linebacker Jax Tucker was out with a hamstring pull, suffered in a college camp. Devereaux said he’s not going to risk hurting a guy in July.
“All around, from the first day to the last day, the speed at which we play got better. We executed better. That’s what you want to see, growth and improvement. You want to see players coming together, forming that brotherhood,” Devereaux said.
The Panthers will continue in the weight room Monday to Thursday each week until fall practices begin on Aug. 17. Wenatchee opens the season at home against Mount Si on Sept. 6.