Column: All 3 New Ulm football teams have scrimmages on Saturday

Saturday could have well been labeled “Scrimmage Saturday” as all three high school football teams in New Ulm readied themselves for next week’s season openers with scrimmages.

At Harman Park, New Ulm Cathedral head football coach Denny Lux worked his team in an intersquad scrimmage.

“You could see our athleticism and how well we worked together,” Lux said after the scrimmage. “We have a number of basketball players that are on this squad. These guys can go up and catch the ball.

“I also felt that our running backs were finding the holes well and both quarterbacks (junior Ethan Mixdorf and freshman Sam Knowles) did a good job of running the offense”

While the Greyhounds will be a predominately running team, watching the scrimmage you had to be impressed with the chemistry that has already been established between Hillesheim, a senior tight end and Knowles the freshman quarterback who Lux said will start on Friday night at home against Lakeview.

There were three of four times Hillesheim jumped over defensive backs to latch onto Knowles’ passes. Knowles can also fire the long ball but also can connect with the soft touch passes.

“We have eight or nine seniors who are very athletic,” Lux said. “And Sam knew where to go, how to adjust. We will run first — we have good running backs and a good offensive line — but this scrimmage showed that we are not afraid to put the ball in the air.

“We had some sophomores going against some seniors and they worked hard,” Lux said.

“We feel that the future is real solid here. Our defense knew our offense but when we watch the film I do not think we will see many mistakes as far as blocking assignments.”

Lux said that he likes the intersquad scrimmage rather than the four-team scrimmage.

“You go to a four-team scrimmage and you are seeing a lot of different things” he said. “You do not always get a chance to learn. Sometimes you are just trying to keep up to the scrimmage. We have been doing this for 10-12 years and this is all we need.”

Lux said that the freshman Knowles, who is listed at 6-foot 1, 185 pounds “is mentally strong and has a lot of physical attributes. There is no pressure on him. This offense is built around the fullback and halfback.”

Minnesota Valley Lutheran hosted Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop for a scrimmage and MVL head coach Jim Buboltz felt it was good for his team to get some contact across the line for his players.

“We got better defensively as it went on,” Buboltz said. “We got that initial shock about another team coming here. We saw that ‘Elk River Offense’ and I was happy.”

Buboltz also thought offensively the Chargers were able to run and pass.

“That opened things up for us,” Buboltz said. “We need to get the ball out to Jace [Marotz] and Mason [Cox] and Jake [Kettner]. We have some great targets. Colton [Collum] got upfield with some good runs too. For the 12-15 offensive plays I felt that was alright.”

New Ulm High School hosted a five-team scrimmage with BOLD, Redwood Valley, Windom and Lake Crystal-Welcome Memorial.

New Ulm coach Corey Kneeshaw said that there was “good and bad” in the two-hour scrimmage.

“Redwood brought that physical play and I do not think that we brought that right off the bat,” he said. “As the scrimmage went on we did better things. We did some good things when we got down to the goal line we did some good things but it is starting off with that urgency right away.”

Kneeshaw was happy with junior quarterback Nolan Drill.

“He missed a couple of high throws so we are changing mechanics with him,” Kneeshaw said. “He threw some seam balls for us and he made a check at the line and we got the long pass to Reece [Melby]. He is starting to see the whole field. There will be some nerves for him Thursday when we host Waseca.”

Kneeshaw was also happy with the defense.

“I was very encouraged by their performance especially our defensive line,” Kneeshaw said. “We are big — we have some big boys on our front four and I am encouraged by that. And overall our tackling has been a lot better than we have showed in the past.”