KINGMAN - After just three days of practice with the pads on, the Kingman High Bulldogs discovered they were just a little behind Division III Coconino at Friday's scrimmage in Flagstaff.
Coconino just finished its third week of practice compared to Division IV Kingman's second, as the Panthers open their season Friday against Cactus. The Bulldogs' opener is Aug. 28 at Chino Valley.
"We did all right. I'm real proud of what they did," said KHS football coach Greg Tonjes. "They've been in pads for 10 days now to our three, but we went out and played pretty good football."
Kingman surrendered four touchdowns to Coconino. Quarterback Cristo Tabares led the Panthers. Tonjes listed Tabares at about 6-4, 230 pounds.
"The defensive side is where I expected us to struggle," the coach said. "We haven't had a lot of time repping that. Overall, they played OK and were good enough to compete."
Kingman continues to have a quarterback battle between juniors Nate Sinclair and Alex Gilliman. Each got 30 snaps in the scrimmage. Sinclair is a pocket passer who likes to stay there until he has to move, while Gilliman is mobile and likes to run for yards as well.
"I was very impressed with both of our quarterbacks," Tonjes said. "They're making it difficult to decide who will start. Combined, we only threw two interceptions in 60 plays."
Senior running back Isiah Perez has the coach excited. Though only 5-7 and 150 pounds, Perez uses his physicality to make extra yards. Tonjes reported Perez had more than 100 yards rushing and another 40 receiving, and scored a touchdown. Junior Mason Wester also performed well at running back, Tonjes said.
Both the offensive and defensive lines are units Kingman has to focus on as it heads toward its season opener. Though senior Joshua Schreuder was outstanding against Coconino, Tonjes is still looking for solutions.
"We still haven't found the five guys who are going to be there," the coach said. "We just haven't found that right combination."
The Bulldogs are going into two-a-days mode this week with morning practice before school and an after-school session to speed up the pace of finding answers for their problems.
"We need to," Tonjes said. "We were just a little behind (Coconino). It just showed we had a lack of time hitting and tackling."
Kingman hosts its annual Blue-Gold scrimmage at 7 p.m. Friday. Tonjes said there is going to be plenty of food with a Bulldog Barbecue Pit cooking up a whole pig and a 37-pound turkey. The varsity scrimmage is two running clock halves, and the JV scrimmage will be at halftime.
"We're ready," Tonjes said. "We could play a game tomorrow."