Fans turn out to watch Hemet Bulldogs test their skills against Rancho Verde Mustangs
■ By Corey Evan / Reporter
Some ask why they would go near their school when they don’t need to. Football fans have a very good answer for them: Scrimmage. But what is a scrimmage?
As simply defined by Merriam-Webster, a scrimmage match is “practice play need to do before they’re ready to hit the gridiron when the season kicks off.between two squads.” It helps the teams involved identify strengths and weaknesses in their program and strategy-making. The Valley Chronicle observed the scrimmage match between the Hemet Bulldogs and Moreno Valley’s 2017 state championship qualifying Rancho Verde Mustangs on Friday, Aug 10.
This match doesn’t count toward the Bulldogs’ nor the Mustangs’ overall season win-loss record. But it certainly gives coaches a chance to see what their teams
So what did the Bulldogs learn from this year’s scrimmage? Head Coach Jason Thornburg observed the following: “I actually thought we were physical; I thought our O-line played very well as far as pass protection, I thought our front three did well defensive-wise, against a very good Rancho Verde team. Good teams expose your weaknesses; I feel we made some mental errors, not physical errors. I felt like guys were doing their own thing and… they have a job to do, they need to do that job.”
Thornburg was also happy no injuries occurred here. As for him and the Mustangs’ coach, Thornburg says they’re pretty tight: “I coached with (Coach Thomas) Duffy… twenty years ago, so we’ve always kept in contact. So it worked out to be a good opportunity for us to get together.” They even text message each other.
Luckily for these teams, the air quality cooperated for this scrimmage match. But many teams in the vicinity of the Holy Fire didn’t get so lucky this season: “From Paloma to Menifee, a lot of them had to cancel their scrimmages that were going on because of the air quality,” according to Thornburg. “I think a lot of schools in Corona and Norco and Menifee and Perris… Even some of the schools in Murrieta had to cancel their scrimmages.”
Without a chance to scrimmage against another team, the affected football programs are potentially at a major disadvantage come game time. As such, tonight’s teams have much to be thankful for. “For sure!” agreed Thornburg.
Thornburg gives thanks to his training staff, who despite 110-degree heat never missed a beat when it came to keeping the Bulldogs hydrated.
Unfortunately, the Bulldogs would lose their first game of the season against the Chaparral Pumas, a former scrimmage opponent of Hemet’s. At their next game, they played the Ravens of Vista del Lago at home.