Coach Ponder: Happy with attitude, effort; still lots of work to do with the Riders football team

“We started out slowly but got better and better as the scrimmage went on.” -- Head Riders Coach Scott Ponder

Head Roughrider Football Coach and Center ISD Athletic Director Scott Ponder said he liked a lot of what he saw this past Friday night when the Riders hosted Spring Hill in a scrimmage.

“We were real happy with the effort and attitude of the kids. They played hard the whole time and I thought we were resilient,” he said. “We started out slowly but got better and better as the scrimmage went on.”

Center players did a good job of trying to execute things they had been coached to do, he said.

“Obviously we have a lot of areas to grow in, where we need to continue to improve,” Ponder said. “At the same time I think it was a good scrimmage and a good starting point for us.”

While he sees strong players in key positions for the Roughriders, he said depth could be a challenge for the team.

“We've got to find a way to maximize the guys that we have,” he said.

“We've got to find a way to try to make the most of our linemen,” Ponder said. “We think we have some strong linemen and we have a pretty good linemen, but we're just not real deep.”

Finding creative ways to use the talent the team has will be among the focus of the Riders' coaching staff as they continue preparing the team for the first game of the season on Aug. 30 when Center travels to Tatum for a non-district game.

This Thursday night's scrimmage at Hemphill is not going to be an extremely long scrimmage, he said. But the Roughrider coaching staff has some definite areas of improvement they hope to see out of the team.

“What we'd like to see is great effort, more effort than we saw the other night,” Ponder said. “And, we'd like to see a faster start. We'd like to see continued improvement as far as being consistent throughout the course of the scrimmage and get stronger as it goes, but we'd like to see it start a little faster.”

He hopes another few days of practice will help improvement the team's conditioning.

“We'd like to see some growth on both the offensive and defensive side in the schemes as far as execution of what we're trying to do,” he said.

“We'd like to have success, but more than anything else I'd like to see the execution, the effort and the conditioning and being able to come out to do some things we're asking them to do.”

He said the players have remained healthy as they go into the final week of pre-season.

“We had a couple of guys that got dinged up but we're healthy moving forward,” Ponder said.

“Our focus now is on Tatum,” he said. “They're always talented and they have a new coaching staff.”

“It's going to be an exciting first game,” Ponder said.