LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE — With a new head coach on board and some tweaks and adjustments being made to its tried and true offensive philosophy, this summer will be one of acclimation and experimentation for the Flintridge Prep football team.
The Rebels wrapped up their most intensive stretch of scrimmages yet on Friday, concluding a grueling week of passing league games in hosting a clash with Prep League-foe Rio Hondo Prep.
"It's been a long week for them," said Prep Coach Antonio Harrison, who took over the program in the winter after serving as an assistant last season. "We had a total of nine games this week. This is our last one and, on top of that, I've had them weightlifting and conditioning every single day all week.
"They're a bit worn out, they deserve a rest. They're doing a great job of learning a variation of the system and living up to the standards I'm holding for them."
Nobody kept score officially — the Kares found the end zone twice to the Rebels' one touchdown — but the scrimmage had a higher purpose in getting the Rebels' personnel used to the new shotgun variation of the classic Wing-T offense traditionally favored at Prep.
"The philosophy's still the same," Harrison said, "but [the shotgun Wing-T's] gonna give our guys a little more of a chance to be athletes, to utilize their talents and also for us to put the ball in the air a little bit more."
Both teams' offenses alternated on two series in which they were allotted 10 plays to try to score as many touchdowns on the 80-yard field as possible.
Senior-to-be Jordan Whaley led the Rebels under center on the first sequence and completed five passes while leading the drive into Kare territory. Kyle McDonald, who will also be a senior in the fall, played quarterback on the second series and completed six passes with one interception.
"I told them outright they will compete for this position," Harrison said. "Their stats and their efforts will allow me to determine who starts and if they're equal by the end of summer, then we have a two-quarterback system."
The big surprise of the day was incoming junior and first-year varsity player Steven Flemming, who made several big-yardage plays at receiver.
"I thought Steven was a freshman going into his sophomore year until I was going through some of the roster stuff and realized he was gonna be a junior," Harrison said. "I think he did an excellent job. He's got a bright future and he's definitely gonna be a crucial component of our offense."
Flemming had been practicing and scrimmaging with the junior varsity squad this summer, but saw his first action with the varsity squad on Friday and came up with several big plays, including the Rebels' only touchdown of the afternoon, a hookup with McDonald from five yards out.
"[The Kares] were talking a lot, so I just tried to go back and answer with my play," said Flemming, who caught three passes for 80 yards, including a 40-yard reception in double coverage on a deep ball from McDonald. "I got some balls in the air and Kyle threw it out for me and I was able to make the play."
McDonald said the transition to the expanded playbook is going well.
"We're still young," he said. "We've had two or three weeks in this offense, so there's still some kinks we need to work out. But there's still three months before the season and that's how it is, I'm sure, with any team in high school. But the attitude's right."