Channon Hall returned to the Pflugerville Connally sidelines Friday night, standing with the Shoemaker Grey Wolves opposite his former players.
"I have a lot of respect for coach (Howard) McMahan and that entire coaching staff we put in a lot of good hours together and long hours," Hall said. "I've got a lot of respect for those guys, those guys do a great job and it was good to go out there and go against good coaches. You knew you were going to get a true feeling of yourself and your team."
The nostalgia of the situation, though, soon gave way to Hall's job at Shoemaker, which played its season-opening scrimmage at Connally on Friday.
Hall, who is implementing a new offense and a new defense, said his Grey Wolves, coming off consecutive 0-10 seasons, showed progression in the new schemes he started installing with his players less than two weeks ago.
Expecting to see mistakes, Hall said he wanted to limit those and at the same time solidify the Grey Wolves' offensive line, specifically at the center position.
"We lost probably about four or five snaps out of 70 and, of course, that's never good, but when you break it down percentage-wise, it was better than what it seemed to us once we get on the film and look at them, break the whole thing down," Hall said. "I think we got exactly what we wanted out of the scrimmage. We found out what we needed to grow at and we found out what some kids can do."
With only a week remaining before its annual season-opening showdown with Killeen, Ellison coach Buddy McBryde said there was still plenty his Eagles had left to do.
But while he saw some issues of concern namely pass protection and perimeter defense McBryde was overall satisfied with what he saw during Ellison's scrimmage Friday at Manor.
"We did pretty good. We have an awful lot of things to work on and improve on between now and then," McBryde said. "But overall, we felt pretty good about how we did."
Outdoing Manor 3-1 on scoring drives during the live quarter of action, McBryde was especially happy with how his wing-T offense ran the ball, as several players battle to replace the offensive production of departed tailback David Cobb.
"The thing that we probably did the best at was run the ball, we had a good night running the ball," McBryde said. "Something we have to improve on is little things that would have stopped drives in a game penalties, little silly things like motion penalties."
One of the biggest questions this offseason was who would be taking snaps under center, with senior Daniel Soria in a tight battle with junior Dajour Jamison to be the starting quarterback.
"We still haven't made a decision yet. Both of them had a really good scrimmage. ... We're pleased with both of their progress at this point," McBryde said. "You'll see (who starts) when we play Killeen High."
Everything was good early, then it wasn't. Then it was again, and then it was over.
Despite the up-and-down start, Killeen coach Sam Jones called the Roos' scrimmage against Leander a success.
"We were good fresh it was hot yesterday and I'm not making excuses then we got flat and then we picked it back up when game-time," Jones said. "I guess that has to do with young kids, it's just we've got to learn to play for 48 minutes and stay consistent."
Killeen's defense, expected to be the Roos' early-season strength this season, held Leander scoreless in its first 20-play series. Then, the Roos' offense, guided by sophomore quarterback Garrett Gaskamp, had two drives stall install the Lions' 10-yard line and walked away from both with just a single field.
Then, beginning when the teams' No. 2 group started, the Roos hit a wall that they didn't climb over until the two live-quarters portion of the scrimmage.
"I thought, at times, we made them look bad ... in the first half, we controlled the ball I mean we just walked down the field passing, throwing, everything, it was great. Then, all of a sudden, the next time we came out, they shut us down," Jones said.
"I still believe that's just varsity game experience and that's why you scrimmage a quality team like Leander, so you can be ready throughout the year."