Herald Staff Report
The Clinton Herald
---- — CAMANCHE — A new feature to the Iowa high school football offseasons is preseason games. Since it’s the first for everyone in the state, different teams had different approaches to this new facet of 2013.
Steve Dougherty, head coach of the Camanche Indians, chose to use the scrimmage as a way to look at younger players on the roster and mix different groups of players together — starters and backups shared the same field for much of the game against Maquoketa.
While Dougherty said he got a lot of good looks at players, he’s not using the game as an indicator for how the Indians will play when they host Bellevue at 7 tonight.
“There’s some things we have to clean up,” Dougherty said. “We weren’t able to shed blocks as easily as we needed to. That’s something we have to get better at. Overall, it’s nice to see kids that have been doing it year after year after year come in again and be successful.”
Last season, Camanche and Bellevue wound up off the postseason boat. The Comets were 3-6 and Camanche was 2-7. But head-to-head, Bellevue took the 2012 season opener 21-6.
In fact, the Comets have owned the rivalry against Camanche in recent years. That’s something Dougherty has keyed to turning things around this season.
“We certainly want to be competitive with Bellevue,” the coach said. “They have given us fits. This is my eighth season and we’ve only beat them twice since I’ve been here. We have to answer adjustments that they throw at us. It’s important that we start off the year correctly.
Camanche’s staff has been encouraged by the players’ productivity this offseason. Dougherty said a select group of seniors had taken players under their wings to focus on team unity. He called the 2013 Indians “a team of no-names,” meaning that no single all-star talent is going to dictate wins and losses.
With focus turned on the entire team, Dougherty likes his talent overall.
“This year’s group, again, has brought it to a whole new level,” he said. “Overall, as a whole, this team is much stronger, and it’s certainly quicker. Fans will enjoy seeing our defensive effort.”
Outside of Week 1, Camanche’s staff hasn’t thought about the season as a whole. The Indians have simply been focussed on ending the fits that the Comets create.
“Beyond Friday, I haven’t really thought that much about it,” Dougherty said. “We really want to get off to a good start.”