EAST LIVERPOOL - The anticipation is building.
The East Liverpool football team will square off against Salem in a scrimmage set for 7 p.m. tonight at Patterson Field.
"Things have been real positive," second-year East Liverpool head coach Rick Prescott said about his team's summer preparations. "We have been positive in the offseason, with our two-a-days and with our camp. Everything has been real positive.
"We have made a lot of progress. Everyone is working hard. They have dedicated themselves to the program. I think we are going to be very happy with what we see on the field this year."
Both teams went through disappointing seasons last year. East Liverpool lost its first nine games of the season before defeating Weir, 40-0, in Week 10 in the final game at Jimmy Carey Stadium.
The Potters have put last season behind them, and they are focused on the season.
"Yeah, absolutely," Prescott said. "Last year was a tough year. There were a lot of growing pains, but everyone is looking forward. We are all moving forward. We are very positive. We have had an exciting past couple of months. Things are exciting, and we are hoping to build on that."
East Liverpool's previous scrimmage was Aug. 7 at Columbiana.
"It went very well," Prescott said. I was very happy. We averaged about 6-yards a carry. I was happy.
"We didn't do a lot of different things. We wanted to see who was ready to play football. We wanted to come out hitting and to be aggressive. I was happy with what I saw."
The Potters are looking to continue to be aggressive against the Quakers.
"Our big goal is we have got to be physical," Prescott said. "We have to play aggressive and physical. That is the first thing we have to do. We have to have that mentality on offense and on defense. That is our goal.
"After practice today, we challenged them. We told them we want to be more physical and more aggressive tomorrow night."
In the grand scheme of things, the outcome of scrimmages doesn't really account for a whole lot, but coaches always want their teams to be successful no matter what type of game they are playing.
"It wouldn't help us out to go out there and get pounded by 70 points, but at the same time it is a scrimmage," Prescott said. "It is hard to take a lot from a scrimmage. It is a good measuring stick.
"Deep down you want to win everything whether it is a scrimmage or a regular game. You want to win everything."
This season, Salem is under the guidance of first-year head coach Ron Johnson. Johnson previously served as head coach at Canton McKinley. Johnson replaced Mike Kopachy, who stepped down in the spring.
"They have a new coach, and he is very experienced," Prescott said. "He has coached at some high-caliber programs, and he has been very successful.
"They are definitely bringing a similar style of football. They are running the spread. They are using a 3-5 defense.
"They are in a transition coaching-wise, but he is the kind of guy that if you give him a chance he will build a program. He has been successful everywhere. He is a quality coach. Things should be exciting for Salem in the future."
The gates open at 5:30 p.m.
East Liverpool's band and cheerleaders will also be on hand.
The two team's also scrimmaged last season at Reilly Stadium, however, the game was called at halftime due to lightning.