By RON PRESTON
The sun was slowly setting in the west when the annual Orange and White scrimmage began at Paul Dennis Stadium for the Abilene Cowboys, but the mercury in the thermometers was still telling everyone it was a HOT Thursday evening.
“You could tell we’ve been in the heat all day,” Coach Jeff Geist said following the game. “We had a practice before the scrimmage so I know they were hot and tired already before we even started. So that made a difference in some of our play.”
The pre-season planned varsity starters wore the Orange to start the game on offense. Throughout the game the coaching staff made changes to the line ups and had players switching jerseys to perform on each side of the ball in different situations.
The Orange outscored the White team 22-16 in a contest that was controlled by the coaches and game officials.
Junior Chase Stalder started at quarterback for the Orange during the scrimmage. He completed some key throws in the contest to help lead the Orange squad with the winning score.
Senior Keil Kelly was one of Stalder's prime targets in the first period and junior running back Tanner Hoekman broke some runs for extended yardage.
The scrimmage consisted of three 10 - minute periods with the varsity playing the junior varsity in the first two periods and the freshmen Cowboys getting to play against the junior varsity during the final period.
“The defense did some nice things,” coach Geist said. “Offensively, we don’t know who our first group is just yet, so we’ll mix some people up this week and see what happens.
“We’ve got a lot of room to get better,” he said. “We didn’t set the bar really high tonight so we need to get better.
“I thought our tight end had a good game tonight, he did some nice things and had some runs after he caught the ball,” he added.
“We also had a nice two-point conversion. The offensive line did a really nice job just walling everything in and Hoekman got to waltz into the end zone,” Geist said.
The Cowboys have 29 freshmen listed on their roster and they got into the action during the final period.
“There were a few things tonight that looked okay,” coach Geist added. “You are always the ole coach who wants to get better and you tend to knit pick at the little things some times, but we’ll try to get better in the next week and see if we can’t put on a little better show.”
The Cowboys take to the road to open the season at the defending 3A State Champions Beavers at Scott City next Friday.