EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

August 23, 2013

Scrimmage time

The Eagle-Tribune

---- — HAVERHILL — There’s plenty to work on before the high school football season begins in two weeks and local teams are trying to smooth over the rough edges during numerous scrimmages that are taking place around the region.

Yesterday at Trinity Stadium, Greater Lawrence, Malden Catholic and Haverhill were on display trying to make progress in preparation for the regular season.

Of the three teams, Haverhill boasts the most experience and showed it in matchups against the other teams. The Hillies do need new skill players, however, and one, St. John’s Prep sophomore transfer Ian Kessel, showed his potential with a long TD run against Malden Catholic.

“Ian had a very good day,” said Haverhill coach Tim O’Connor. “He still has some things to work on, but he did well.

“We made progress today, but it’s hard to tell how much.”

Greater Lawrence is really rebuilding as it vies to replace 10 starters on offense and nine on defense from last year’s 8-4 squad. But head coach Tony Sarkis was encouraged by what he saw yesterday.

“We’re really young, but we’ve got some athletes who showed me something,” said Sarkis. “And our quarterback (Ellicen Pena) is a senior who made some good decisions today.

“We still have a lot of work to do, but I liked what I saw today.”

Greater Lawrence, like many teams, still has plenty of scrimmage time left. The Reggies play Tewksbury tomorrow and go against Somerville and St. Mary’s of Lynn at the Manning Bowl Friday.

Haverhill will scrimmage at St. John’s Prep Wednesday and host Swampscott at Trinity Stadium Saturday at 6:30 p.m. St. John’s Prep is ranked the No. 1 team in the state in the preseason.