Parrott holds Midnight Madness practice
Arendell Parrott Academy's football team participated in its annual Midnight Madness practice Monday night. Photo by Junious Smith III / Neuse News
As the prep football regular season inches closer, Arendell Parrott Academy took the time to keep tradition going.
The Patriots participated in its Midnight Madness practice Monday night/Tuesday morning, which included a Blue vs. Red scrimmage. Parrott is coming off its fourth straight season making it to the NCISAA championship game and have an Aug. 17 contest against Rocky Mount Academy in its season-opener — the team that defeated APA 66-60 in overtime in the championship game last season.
Patriots coach Matt Beaman said he started the Midnight Madness session the Monday after official practices since taking over and has kept it going in his seventh year as head coach. Beaman, who led Parrott to championships in 2015 and 2016, said it’s a way for the team to bond, fellowship and prepare for the upcoming season while also analyzing talent.
“We like to go over some of our sets and tackling before our first scrimmage,” Beaman said. “We’ve got the team divided about as fair as we can (in the scrimmage) — we’re trying to see who can step up and if we have some diamonds in the rough.”
Senior offensive/defensive lineman William McPhaul enjoyed his final Midnight Madness at APA.
“It’s really a team-bonding experience and I’m ready to get back to the physicality of the game,” McPhail said.
Matthew Huntley, a senior wide receiver and safety, said the scrimmage is a way to give those in attendance a chance to see how the team has improved with hopes of getting to a fifth straight championship game and picking up a third title in the span.
“For us, it’s a chance to showcase what we’ve been working on all summer and prepare for our opening game,” Huntley said. “We’ve all got to be on the same page and get better individually.”
Senior Zach Vendemia, who will play quarterback, linebacker and safety, said the Patriots will have a chip on their shoulders all year — not just for the missed opportunity to three-peat last season, but for a relatively low rank in the preseason standings.
“We’ve got to find out who the dogs are,” Vendemia said. “We’re ready and excited for the season — in preseason, we were ranked No. 4 and that’s motivation for us.”