Asked if he was relaxed during Friday night Booneville head coach Scott Hyatt wasn’t being facetious when he said no.
The reason for Hyatt’s anxiety was he didn’t want to see any more injuries during the first week of full contact practice. In fact, Hyatt was insistent on "quick whistles" during the scrimmage. After all, with nine players returning who started games, or saw significant playing time defensively, it tends to get physical.
Of course the question came during a full scrimmage by his players and not during the Purple-Gold game in which the Bearcats face off against the town’s little league teams.
During those "games" and during the intersquad scrimmage five Bearcats stood and watched.
Two – sophomore Taylor Epperson and junior Jimmy Scott – were victims of suspected concussions sustained in practice. Another junior, Cole Inkelbarger, had sustained a possible concussion in practice but wrecked on a four-wheeler earlier in the afternoon and could not play.
Starting center Wade Weaver, a senior, had suffered a freak injury to a knee in a non-contact drill and was out for the night, as was junior Landon Vance, who hyper-extended a knee on a play while trying cut up field.
The casualties left the practice and second units a somewhat thin for Hyatt’s staff, making Hyatt anxious about more of his 42 man roster missing more time before Monday night’s scrimmage with Charleston and Union Christian.
Then, noseman Justin Shackleford, fellow defensive linemen Dalton Gray and Joseph Saldana, linebackers Damon May and Bryson May, and defensive backs Matt Berry, Cody Harrel, James Ray, Josh Smith will be turned loose on someone other than their teammates.
Damon May, Saldana, Gray, Shackleford and Ray were the top five tacklers for the Bearcats in 2012.
The scrimmage with the Tigers and Eagles is set for Bearcat Stadium. The event was originally planned as a jamboree with Arkansas Baptist also involved but the Little Rock private school later pulled out of the event.
Hyatt said last week the final format for the scrimmage won’t be finalized until this week.
The Bearcats open the 2013 season at Ozark on Sept. 6.