A new era of Xenia High School football unofficially began Tuesday night as the Buccaneers hosted Miami Trace for a scrimmage at Doug Adams Stadium.
It was not quite “football weather,” but sunny and 77 degrees with the occasional breeze is hard to beat in early August in southwest Ohio.
That there’s a new sheriff in town was evident well before the Buccaneers’ opponent even arrived.
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When putting your his stamp on a program, a coach even has to teach his guys how to stretch, and Smitherman demanded an attention to detail that made the afternoon feel more like a Friday with a real game on tap.
A small but enthusiastic crowd welcomed the Buccs to the field, and Smitherman’s new triple option was an immediate hit as fullback Sincere Wells slashed up the middle for a run of more than 20 yards. It would have gone the distance had Wells not slammed full-speed into a game official and gone to the turf.
Quarterback Jonny Shampton pulled the ball on the next play and would have scored on an option keeper, but it was called back because of an illegal procedure.
Instead, Shampton hit star receiver Meechi Harris, an impressive athlete who also saw some time at safety, for a touchdown on a beautiful fade pass. Harris has more than a dozen college offers, including Kentucky, Michigan State, Iowa, Wisconsin and Cincinnati.
Early in the scrimmage, Xenia ripped off several big plays that were called back on penalties, including a long touchdown pass to one of the slot backs on a seam route.
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Defensively, the Buccs have moved to a slanting 50 defense, and that unit also got off to a strong start against the Panthers.
Xenia, 3-7 in the GWOC American South last season, kicks off the regular season Aug. 24 with a visit from rival Beavercreek.
The Buccs and Beavers will play on a Thursday night for the second straight season.