Tyler Overstreet said he could not have asked for a better start to his tenure as the Glendale High School football coach.
Of course, this time of year, healthy players and lots of them are pretty much all coaches are interested in seeing on their football teams.
But numbers are up for the Falcons, who are coming off a trip to the playoffs and an 8-3 season in coach Joel Heman's final year.
Gone are Heman, prolific running back Trevor Vaughn and game-changing wide receiver/safety Cameron Johnson.
So, new coach Overstreet and the Falcons are starting anew, including a 3-2 night on Thursday at 7-on-7 scrimmages against Ozark Conference opponents at Kickapoo. Glendale lost 12-7 to Joplin in the quarterfinals of the night-ending tournament.
"It's a fresh start for them and a fresh start for me," said Overstreet, a former standout quarterback at Nixa.
"There are no preconceived notions carried over from last year. We lost a big crop of kids, but we're pretty senior-heavy and we're giving those kids a chance to shine."
Overstreet managed the offense at Rogersville for the last four seasons, helping the Wildcats to a Class 3 state championship in November.
He joins a Glendale team with a second-year starting quarterback in senior Will Rogers, who insists the next crop of skill-position players won't be much of a drop-off from the last bunch.
"We had a lot of talent that was really just in their shadows, but we have guys that are ready to step in," Rogers said, noting players such as Justin Starks, Adam Thompson, Jared Hood, Austin Lopez and Derrick Penticuff are ready to make plays.
Overstreet was one of three city coaches pleased Thursday with the numbers attending early summer workouts. Rogers said 108 Falcons were at the first offseason workout and nearly 80 strong have been consistently working.
"We're only three weeks into it, but we've come a long way in the short time that we have had," Rogers said. "We've put a lot into it, put a lot of stuff in and we're on the right track."
Overstreet said he's retooling his playbook based on the strengths of his new team.
"It's like taking mud and throwing it against the wall," the coach said. "So, at the end of the summer, we'll see what's stuck and what didn't, then we'll go back and reteach what didn't and go from there."
Eight of the 10 OC teams were present for Thursday's scrimmages, as Hillcrest and West Plains had conflicts.
The scrimmage was the first of its kind and was organized by Parkview coach Anthony Hays.
It was staged at Kickapoo because of the installation of new artificial turf at Parkview's JFK Stadium.
Hays said work could be completed on the turf within the next couple of weeks.
Crews also will be working this summer at Hillcrest, Kickapoo and Glendale to install turf at what previously were natural grass stadiums.
Hays said this summer, his second in command, has been a lot easier as he is more comfortable leading the Vikings.
"I feel like last year was such a whirlwind," Hays said. "I was moving when we first started summer. I feel relaxed and more in the position. I feel like I'm more organized and our kids have a better grasp of everything."
It has helped adding some athleticism as sprint relay anchor leg Chris Hargrove has joined the program for his senior year.
Hargrove had not played football since eighth grade, but Hays has him playing slot receiver and free safety in the early summer.
The coach said the turnout has been about in the mid-80s for summer camp.
Camdenton topped Parkview in the finals of the 7-on-7 event, 24-0.
The final was a matchup of teams led by second-year coaches. In addition, both programs have a history of grinding out yardage with the rushing game, which made it unusual to see them rise to the top.
Hays said he was pleased with the play of returning senior starting quarterback Landan Ruff, who looked composed in the pocket -- without the pass rush, of course.
Cole Jenkins, who will be a third-year starter in the backfield, has looked strong as well, Hays said.
Chiefs without QB
Kickapoo won just one game at Thursday's scrimmages, but was without starting junior quarterback Anthony Cooper, who is overseas in Belize.
Coach Joel Wells said he's been pleased with numbers in the summer, and the play of returners such as tight end Mike Flowers, Tanner Jones and Taylor Simmons.
"We caught the ball decent," said Wells, also a second-year coach at Kickapoo. "We've got a lot of kids that are baseball or basketball. But we played everybody, got a lot of reps. Our goal was to evaluate."