Trevor Junquera/Recorder staff Fonda-Fultonville quarterback Anthony Sinicropi, right, throws a pass against Broadalbin-Perth during Saturday's scrimmage in Broadalbin.
Trevor Junquera/Recorder staff Broadalbin-Perth quarterback Zach Morreale avoids a Johnstown defender in the open field during Saturday's scrimmage at Patriot Field.
BROADALBIN -- Both the Broadalbin-Perth Patriots and Fonda-Fultonville Braves football squads took part in Saturday's three-team scrimmage at Patriot Field, and both of the teams' head coaches came away feeling good about the 2014 season.
And, truthfully, there was no reason for B-P's Jim Pelneau and F-F's Tom Carpenter to not be encouraged with the results from Saturday's action, which also included Johnstown.
Here is my take on what I saw from the Braves and Patriots Saturday, with some thoughts sprinkled in from Carpenter and Pelneau:
* I don't think the first several offensive plays for the Braves resulted in any positive yardage, but F-F responded really well after its bad start. Carpenter thought the rough beginning was simply a matter of the Braves being a little too excited to get started. "Then, I think we settled in," he said. "We've worked on it, but it's different out here."
* The major takeaway for the Braves' offense -- at least, in terms of the skill position players -- was how comfortable senior quarterback Anthony Sinicropi looked running the show. In the past, Sinicropi has been pretty exclusively a runner for the Braves, whether he's playing quarterback or fullback, and my main concern was that he would give up on pass plays too early in favor of rushing on his own. Instead, in the 20 plays he got at quarterback, he only rushed once or twice, a huge positive for the Braves as they look to develop their always-booming passing game.
* More on that passing game: Sinicropi was able to extend a bunch of plays with his legs and find receivers downfield. While the quarterback's strong arm on the move drew gasps of excitement from those watching, the most impressive thing about the plays was the ability of the Braves' linemen to make strong secondary blocks and for the F-F wide receivers to find open space to make the broken plays work.
* Up the middle, neither B-P nor Johnstown had any real success rushing against the F-F defense.
* Overall, the F-F defense acquitted itself nicely playing against a couple of schools from a larger classification. A few times, Carpenter said, the Braves were not aligned properly -- but that's why the squad has a dress rehearsal before its first game. "But, other than that, we were pretty successful," Carpenter said of his defense.
* Nobody was more impressive on the field than senior running back and linebacker Darius Reyes -- but the individual who really stood out Saturday was senior quarterback and safety Zach Morreale. After playing spot duty on defense last year, Morreale made several solid open-field tackles Saturday from the position, showing why Pelneau was confident moving him onto the field full-time. Also, Morreale had a couple nice runs on plays designed for him, a new wrinkle to the Patriots' offense with him at the helm. "If we can force teams to defend 11 instead of 10 guys in the run game, it's going to open up even more for everyone else," Pelneau said.
* Pelneau was thrilled with the performance of his club's reworked offensive line. The unit opened up holes in the running game throughout the scrimmage and never allowed Morreale to be in any real danger. "We didn't go backwards on 'O' all day," Pelneau said.
* Last bit on the club's offense: Seniors Franklin Bailey and Joe Diaz each had impressive runs for the squad, and drew praise from Pelneau. Each has an above-average chance to add to the Patriots' riches at the running back position.
* Defensively, I thought the cornerback duo of senior Tyler Schmidt and sophomore Preston Taylor could not have played much better -- especially since Schmidt played most of 2013 at linebacker and Taylor was hurt for nearly the entire season. Teams are not going to pass against the Patriots.
* The place where the Patriots need work is with the defensive line, where B-P lost all four starters from last season. At times, opposing offenses had success rushing right at the Patriots, but Pelneau did not seem overly worried about it because the club had not really spent much time preparing for the Braves' and Sir Bills' schemes since it was a scrimmage. With a week of preparation with the offense of Cohoes in mind, Pelneau said his defense will be ready for Week 1.
Contact MICHAEL KELLY at firstname.lastname@example.org