For Prosper football, a summer of long practices concluded with a scrimmage against Colleyville Heritage on Friday, Aug. 25.
Varsity and junior varsity players had a chance to compete in a variety of drills — including pass protection, special teams, 7-on-7s and controlled scrimmages — ran in groups of 12 plays at a time. The event ended with a live 12-minute quarter.
“We played a really good football team,” Prosper head coach Brandon Schmidt said. “We did well, but there’s a whole lot of things that we can fix and do better.”
Prosper’s coaching staff had the chance to evaluate players in a full-speed, physical, and competitive practice against a quality opponent. Colleyville Heritage had an impressive campaign in 2016, going 7-3 in the regular season and winning three playoff games before losing in the state quarterfinals.
“We always want to schedule good competition, whether it’s for a scrimmage or for a game,” Schmidt said. “We want to schedule people who are going to test us and make us a better team.”
A few senior leaders for Prosper stood out during the controlled scrimmage, including Wayne Anderson Jr. The hybrid running back and defensive back showed his speed on offense, catching a short pass and using his burst to sneak past the defense on the sideline for a touchdown. He’ll be the backup for senior Kaleb Adams at running back, who is expected to take most of the carries as the Eagles workhorse.
Junior quarterback Keegan Shoemaker ran with the starting unit throughout the night and appeared poised and ready to run the offense. He has shared reps throughout the summer with senior Matt Bramer, who saw extended time under center last season after District Offensive MVP Nathan Powter was sidelined due to injury. Schmidt said he plans to play both Shoemaker and Bramer in the first game of the season.
“I thought they both played with a lot of confidence,” Schmidt said. “They both did a great job of operating the offense and being calm and composed and taking what the game gave to them.”
Defensively, seniors Blake Harrington and Armon Johnson each made a handful of plays in the secondary that caught the attention of the coaching staff. Both players were voted to the All-District team last season. Returning starting linebacker Justin Benvie will aid the duo in leading a young Eagles defense in 2017.
“We’re very excited about them,” Prosper cornerback coach John Brinkley said. “We can go to another level with those two because they’re so smart, almost like coaches on the field. They’re fun to coach and fun to be around.”
Heading into the season, Prosper is the favorite to finish first in District 14-5A for the second consecutive year, according to predictions from Michael Florek of the Dallas Morning News. The Eagles are also ranked No. 19 in Florek’s Texas 5A area rankings.
The Eagles hope to start the season on a high note on the road in Georgetown, Texas against Boerne-Champion on Friday, Sept. 1 at 7 p.m. Prosper lost to Boerne-Champion 17-14 in last year’s season opener at McLane Stadium in Waco.
Boerne-Champion won two playoff games last season and finished the year with a 10-3 record and went 6-1 in District 4-5A. Senior quarterback and University of Tulsa Commit. Davis Brin leads their offense, who threw for over 3,000 yards and 30 touchdowns in 2016.
“They have an explosive offense,” Brinkley said. “It’s going to be a great first challenge.”