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Two Pleasanton Eagles work to tackle the Hondo quarterback. SAM FOWLER | PLEASANTON EXPRESS

Two Pleasanton Eagles work to tackle the Hondo quarterback. SAM FOWLER | PLEASANTON EXPRESS

Pleasanton head football coach Stephen Liska knows scrimmages are another chance to practice and put emphasis on what they want to work on in a live scenario. But the third-year head coach couldn’t help but feel optimistic after their scrimmage with Hondo this past Friday, especially with his offensive line that returns one starter from a year ago.

“Obviously we need work still — it’s the beginning of the season,” Liska said. “But I was thoroughly pleased with how the offensive line worked together, our running backs looked good.”

Liska said they used the scrimmage as an opportunity to hone in on developing their run game, which they hope can accent their lethal ability through the air.

“We really didn’t throw the ball as much as we intend to, but we’re excited about the way the kids look,” Liska said.

“That’s gonna be real beneficial because last year all we did was pass. We didn’t have a run game,” senior quarterback Nathaniel Acevedo said. “This year, we’re gonna have a run game, a pass game. We’re gonna have everything.”

Nathaniel Acevedo

Nathaniel Acevedo

For the lone returning starter on the offensive line, Andrew Orta, he knows there’s still a lot of work for them to get done up front for the Eagles to become a dual-threat offense.

“We were good,” Orta said of the scrimmage. “We had some ups and downs, but we just kept putting in that work. It’s all about technique and knowing what you’re doing.

“It’s gonna take some time [to gel], but we’re gonna come together. We’re on a good path. I think we’re gonna get it.”

Friday was also the first time for Acevedo to operate the varsity offense behind center rather than as a wide receiver. The senior enjoyed getting back out on the field for live contact.

“It felt great to get back out there and get hit again,” he said with a grin. “It was a little rough. It’s my first year back at QB, but I know our team is gonna get better. I know everything is gonna get fixed and next week we’ll be ready to face Jourdanton.”

Following the scrimmage, Acevedo was more comfortable after spending most of his time at the high school level as a receiver.

“It’s been a little journey because I was a receiver and now I’m back,” Acevedo said. “I feel a little more comfortable now. Ever since that scrimmage last week, I think I’m back in the groove now.”

The senior gunslinger will get back to the old days of junior high and pee-wee ball, getting to throw to his longtime classmate Dalton Hobbs. Acevedo feels that connection is something people should watch out for in 2019.

“It’s gonna be real nice,” Acevedo said. “People are gonna see that connection and be real pleased. They’re gonna be like, ‘Wow!’”

Defensively, Liska still has a lot he wants to see from the defensive unit, but saw plenty of upside in the scrimmage.

“We went 12 plays. So, it was kind of a deal where, the first 10, we rode more with the [first team] and then started moving people in and out. So, you don’t get a gauge of where you are,” Liska said. “But, I was excited about how we flew to the ball, we were aggressive. They’ve been hitting each other for a couple of days, looking at green on green. So, they were ready to hit someone else. That was encouraging.”

Next, the Eagles will get a chance to play two live quarters in a dual scrimmage with George West and Jourdanton in Jourdanton on Friday. Liska and the Eagles won’t take that time for granted against two stout programs.

“We’ll have a little bit more time,” Liska said. “It’ll be Jourdanton and George West, so that’ll be quality work there with just the scrimmage itself. Then, as far as the quarters going against each other, it’ll be a game situation and more of an opportunity to call some plays. We feel good about how we look in practice. Obviously, it’s about game speed.”

The scrimmage is scheduled for 6:15 p.m. at Indian Stadium in Jourdanton.

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