HENDERSONVILLE Those early wake-up calls at the beginning of the week seemed to do wonders for the Pope John Paul II High football team – at least in terms of Friday evening’s scrimmage.
The Knights opened the preseason portion of their campaign by hosting Sycamore at the Jim Carell Athletic Complex. PJP II’s first-team defense kept the War Eagles out of the end zone in each of three 10-play series, including a session that began inside the Knights’ 20-yard line.
Senior C.J. Laws said it was good to hit somebody wearing a different uniform for a change.
“We can finally unleash our anger on somebody else,” Laws said. “It’s definitely different.”
The Knights offense, which returns nearly every starter at a skill position from last season’s squad, found some big plays against Sycamore’s defense.
Laws caught two touchdown passes from classmate Ben Brooks – of 34 and 43 yards – and senior Jamaal Thompson broke through for a 45-yard touchdown run on the second 10-play series.
The scrimmage wrapped up PJP II’s first week in full pads, which began at Camp Agape in Benton, Tenn., for three days before the Knights returned home.
“It’s been very, very good,” Laws said. “The main purpose (of the trip) was to bring everybody together. This is the closest team we’ve had in a while.”
With most of the weapons at Brooks’ disposal returning from last year’s squad, Laws feels as comfortable as ever about the Knights’ offense.
“We’ve been throwing since freshman year,” Laws said. “I know what he’s going to do and he knows what I’m going to do, so the chemistry is nothing new.”
The Knights open the season with a trip to Memphis to face Melrose.
Before that, however, PJP II has three more scrimmages scheduled, including hosting next Friday’s dual scrimmage with Gallatin and West Creek.
The Knights will then host Portland for a practice session on Aug. 9 before traveling to Lebanon on Aug. 12 for their final scrimmage.
Reach Chris Brooks at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 615-575-7118. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @CB_SumnerSports, and on Snapchat @cbrooksgne.