Getting an early start on football season, Yosemite, Minarets and Mariposa high school football teams came to Yosemite's Raupp Field June 13 to participate in a 7-on-7 passing scrimmage.
In addition to the passing scrimmage, lineman from the three schools competed in the lineman challenge, a variety of strength events including tug-of-war, tractor tire flip and the farmer's walk (140 pounds in weights carried 20 yards).
Second-year Yosemite head coach Kent Lincoln he felt everyone was excited to get back on the football field. He felt the scrimmage and the lineman challenge were mad for a great night.
"We want to grow this event and are already thinking of adding another team next year," Lincoln said.
Lincoln said the Badgers will be implementing a new offense and defense this season.
"We are going to run the triple option We haven't run that for years at Yosemite," Lincoln said.
Lincoln expects a strong passing game with the return of starting quarterback Joey Woolsey, who's a junior this season.
"We will spread the ball around to a good group of receivers including seniors Cody Elam and Donovon Iverson, junior Brandon O'Brien and sophomore Jayson Lee.
Lincoln said Madera South transfer Leo Meza looks strong at linebacker and will share time in the offensive backfield with Bobbie Magee. Magee missed the passing scrimmage due an emergency appendectomy but is expected to make a quick and full recovery and will be a probably starter at linebacker and running back.
In addition to his quarterback skills, Woolsey had an interception from his defensive back position.
"Receivers will find Joey tough to beat," Lincoln said.
Lincoln also said senior defensive back Drew Lassos had a good night and will be one of the team's leaders this season.
New assistant Badger coaches this year include Jimmy Lee, Marc Lassos, Jonas Garner, Ed Wean and Aaron Pelz. Returning coaches are Pat Lynch, Erik Peterson, Brian Johnson, Larry Archer, Jayson Rhymer and Matt Haynes.
The Badger varsity and JV teams members, along with members of the Yosemite Youth Football program, will gather at Lions International Camp Pacifica in Nipinnawasee in mid-August for a two-day retreat. Players, coaches and parents will spend half a day cleaning up the camp. Then the teams will participate in team building activities, strength and conditioning drills and a passing scrimmage.
The Badgers play in the Division 4 North Sequoia League with Liberty, Sierra, Chowchilla, Washington Union and Kerman.
The Badgers will open the season hosting Calaveras High School from San Andreas on Sept. 6.
Minarets first year coach Bob Kelly, who coached at Mariposa for four years, three years as head coach, before coming over the hill to Minarets, said he liked the way his players competed.
"We had 36 players out here tonight and everyone got a chance to play," Kelly said. "It was good to compete against the other teams. We want our guys to compete from the get this year and that's what they did tonight."
This year's version of the Mustangs features more than 10 seniors, compared to last year's team that had just two seniors.
Kelly said he has three strong senior quarterbacks including last year's starter Kennan Reardon. The other quarterbacks are Jackson Soares and Mitch Pritchett.
"We have a new offense this year and all three quarterbacks will have to learn it and whoever plays the best in the new system will get the first shot at starting," Kelly said.
Kelly said the new offense will be more balanced between running and passing.
"We hope to run the ball well this year - We'll find out how well we can do that in August and September," Kelly said.
Kelly said the Mustang passing game is light years ahead of any of his Mariposa teams were at this point of the season running the same offense.
He said five receivers had a good night seniors Sam Reyes, Cosmo Tracy and Connor Reid, junior Caleb Reid and sophomore Mason Ellis.
"They all caught the ball well and ran good patterns," Kelly said. "Our defensive backs and linebackers played well and all the players learned a lot tonight."
Kelly said he was happy with his lineman, who beat Mariposa and Yosemite in the tug-of-war.
The Mustangs play in the Division 6 West Sequoia League with Riverdale, Caruthers, Fowler, Fresno Christian and Parlier.
The Mustangs open the season Sept. 6 hosting Sierra.
Mariposa's head coach Ryan Oliphant came to the passing scrimmage without the services of senior quarterback Bodie Vedley who is recovering from shoulder surgery. Although the team hit the field without its starting QB from last season, Oliphant said he was impressed with his two junior play-callers, Aaron Lerna and Noah Fluharty.
"I'm happy overall with the way everyone played, considering these players have only been together for three practices," Oliphant said. " We still have lots to work on. We had two weeks of spring practice but six of our players were still playing baseball because our team advanced to the division championship."
Mariposa plays in the Division VI Southern League of the Sac-Joaquin Section.
The Grizzlies open the season Sept. 6 in Tuolumne against Summerville High.
The Yosemite Football Boosters prepared barbecued hot dogs and baked beans for all three teams and coaches, and Badger cheerleaders helped serve the dinner at the end of the event.