Tattnall Square visited Sammons Field last Friday in a scrimmage against Gatewood. Although the score wasn’t kept and the format differed from the regular season, Gatewood head coach Jeff Ratliff came away with a mixed bag of feedback after the scrimmage.
Simply put, there were some positive things to happen and having been at it for only three weeks, there were some not-so-good things to happen but Ratliff felt all those things were correctable before the Gators open the regular season on Aug. 27 at home against Edmund Burke.
“The biggest thing I told the team was we finally got to go against somebody other than ourselves every day,” he said. “It gave us the opportunity to see another team at full speed and I loved the way we competed. Our energy level was good and we did some good things, but we did some negative things, too.”
Ratliff sang the praises of his defense, returning a number of players and saying he expects the unit to be pretty good.
“The nucleus is back. We have a chance to be pretty good especially after getting Cole Hudson back after an injury last year,” Ratliff said. “We made some mistakes on that side of the ball, but we’ll be okay.”
Offensively, Gatewood has a host of players to replace and the outcome was not too far from what was expected.
“When you replace all your skill players on offense, you are going to struggle a little bit,” Ratliff explained. “We were fine right up until the time Tattnall changed the defense on us. They mixed it up on us and we’re not quite to that level to make all of those adjustments right now.
“We will be moving forward. We got some good experience that way even though it didn’t turn out great for us. We had too many turnovers and made some indecisive decisions but as a whole, we had a little bit of explosiveness there. We have to just figure out how to make it all work.”
Ratliff recalled the 2020 season when Gatewood really put it all together, which happened at the midway point. It was really when the upperclassmen stepped in.
“When we came together as a team, we became a championship football team,” he recalled. “The same thing has to happen this year. There were a lot of positives Friday night and there were some negatives but the good thing about the negatives is they are all correctable.
“By week one, we’ll have the mistakes corrected and will be playing our game.”