With the dawn of the 2004 season less than a week away, the Highland Rebels welcomed the Salem Greyhounds to Rebel Memorial Field for a controlled scrimmage Aug. 26.
Both squads used the scrimmage to get a taste of live-game action before kicking off the season for real Sept. 3.
Each team ran two 15-play series on offense in the first half of the scrimmage starting from their own 30-yard lines. The second half of play saw each squad get a chance at two 12-play series from their own 30.
As would be expected of a last-minute tune-up, there were several miscues and turnovers by both teams as they worked out the chinks in a live setting.
On the Hounds' first series of plays, Salem fans got a look at their new quarterback, junior Chad Willett, as he took over the keys to the Greyhound offense from Phillip Taylor who now starts at tailback.
Getting into a groove, Willett hit fullback Dusty York over the middle for a nice gainer.
Willett and Taylor also flashed their dangerous speed out of the backfield on Salem's first series of plays.
Sophomore Kolby King directed the Rebel offense as they got their hands on the ball for their first set of plays from the 30.
Zac Leija busted free for an 11-yard gain, setting up John Wiggins a couple of plays later.
Wiggins ran the ball to the Salem 3-yard line, and two plays later, he crossed the goal line. Johnathan Tate booted the PAT.
Looking crisp on their last series before the half, Willett connected with York again for 11 yards, and Taylor spotted a hole in the line to gain 12 more.
Highland's last possessions before halftime were highlighted by the emergence of senior Stu Smart at quarterback.Smart, still working his way back from a broken foot, ran seven plays for Highland, a series that featured a 15-yard run by Austin Taylor.
The Rebs got their turn on offense first after the half with King back in at quarterback. Wasting little time, King directed Highland downfield with a long run to the Salem 5-yard line. King later crossed the goal line, and Tate converted the PAT.
Jeff Nelson spelled Willett at quarterback for Salem during the second half.
On the Hounds' first possessions, Zach Harber, Dustin Vaughan and Wes James all toted the ball for Salem.
Will Cox got in on the action at quarterback for Highland as he directed the Rebels on their last series of the evening.
Alex Brink, Scotty Woodson and Cox all got a chance to carry the ball for the Rebels one last time before their season starts will a road trip to Willow Springs, Mo., this Friday night.
Wrapping up their night on the field, the Hounds completed the scrimmage with a nice pass over the middle of the field from Nelson to Derek Estes.
The Greyhounds welcome the Thayer Bobcats to Fulton County for their 2004 season opener this Friday.