The William Byrd football fans will get an unexpected treat when the Terriers play host to Jefferson Forest in a football scrimmage tonight.
The scrimmage was originally scheduled to be played in Forest on Friday night. However, Jefferson Forest High School recently had a new track installed around the football field and the administration didn’t want people walking on the track until it was fully settled. So, they asked if the scrimmage could be held at Byrd and the folks in Vinton were happy to oblige, moving it up a day to Thursday.
This will be the first action on the new Patterson Stadium artificial turf against a visiting opponent. Byrd has been practicing on the turf for over a week but tonight they’ll get a real flavor of what it will be like in a game.
“I think the kids like it,” said Byrd coach Jeff Highfill. “They’re excited about it. It looks nice, with the big WB in the middle and everything.”
Tonight’s action will start with a jayvee scrimmage at 6 pm. The varsity is slated to go at approximately 7 pm and it will be a game situation for the most part. The score will be kept on the board and there will be a running clock but there will be no kick returns.
It should be a good test for the Terriers. Jefferson Forest has had a strong team in recent years and the Cavaliers expect to be good again.
“They’ll be tough,” said Highfill. “They run a power wishbone and we never see that. We probably won’t see that all year.”
Unless, of course, Byrd were to play the Cavaliers again in the post-season. Both schools are in Group 4A and are in the same region.
Note that this is not a “benefit game.” Many schools are playing a benefit game for their second scrimmage, with an admission charge and money split three ways between the two participants and the VHSL. Byrd’s scrimmage tonight is free to the public.
Byrd’s first scrimmage was at Franklin County High School last Friday night against the Eagles, coached by former Byrd quarterback and assistant coach JR Edwards. Rain put a damper on the evening as the scrimmage was interrupted by lightning.
Byrd was able to have one series on offense and two on defense on the Franklin game field before the thunder and lightning delay. When it resumed the scrimmage was moved to a practice field to preserve the school’s game field and the Terriers were able to get in some more work, although they didn’t get much to look at.
“When we moved to the practice field we couldn’t get up high so we didn’t get much on film,” said Highfill. “But it went okay. We got better as it went along.”
The Terriers will open the regular season on Friday, August 25, at home against Cave Spring. The middle school will open Friday with a 4 pm game against Andrew Lewis at Salem Stadium, prior to Salem’s benefit game with Magna Vista.