Preseason games have their up and down side

Published 7:29 am Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Two schools, two different approaches when it comes to exhibition games.
For several seasons, W.S. Neal has scheduled an exhibition game during the third week of practice as a tune-up for the regular season opener the following week. The Blue Eagles play this year's preseason game at 7 p.m. Thursday when they host Andalusia.
Meanwhile across Murder Creek T.R. Miller takes a business-as-usual approach. The Tigers have never played a preseason game in head coach Jamie Riggs' regime, which is entering its 19th season.
So which approach is right? The diplomatic answer would be probably both.
The big plus to playing a preseason game is it gives coaches a measuring stick to see where their players stand and what things need to be adjusted or changed.
There are risks that go with playing a preseason game, mainly possible injuries to key players.
Riggs said while the threat of injury is a concern with a preseason game, it should not scare teams away from playing an exhibition game if that is what they desire.
Some schools also play a spring exhibition game in addition to one in the fall. W.S. Neal played a spring game against Hillcrest-Evergreen back in 2005. That game was scheduled by preceding W.S. Neal coach Shane Smothers, although Hathcock had been hired to succeed him a few weeks earlier. The Blue Eagles have not played a spring contest since then.
While it does not play a scrimmage game against
another opponent, T.R. Miller does have a couple of intrasquad scrimmages prior to its regular season opener. The Tigers held their first last Friday and were scheduled to have another Tuesday.
Hathcock said an exhibition game can generate a lot of excitement from within a community.
Hathcock said there is another item that should increase the crowd size at W.S. Neal Thursday.
Riggs said just because his program does not play an
exhibition game does not mean he is against that kind of
do things around here,” Riggs said.

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