Archive for Thursday, July 3, 2008

Passing league nears end

In third week De Soto ties Piper before handling SM North

Mark England stumbles after making a catch and being stopped by a Piper opponent. The Wildcats tied Piper, 1-1, before beating Shawnee Mission North, 4-2, in the finale. Next week marks the final games of De Soto's 7-on-7 passing league.

Mark England stumbles after making a catch and being stopped by a Piper opponent. The Wildcats tied Piper, 1-1, before beating Shawnee Mission North, 4-2, in the finale. Next week marks the final games of De Soto's 7-on-7 passing league.

July 3, 2008

Another week brought newer and further-reaching strides for De Soto's football team in

7-on-7 action Monday.

In the third week of the four-week league, the Wildcats tied with Piper, 1-1, in the first game and then put it on Shawnee Mission North by a score of 4-2 in the nightcap.

Despite tying in the first game, it was the manner in which the team played in both games that had coach Brad Scott most encouraged.

"Our quarterbacks are starting to get in a rhythm and feel where they are supposed to deliver the ball, and our routes are better and our kids are catching the ball," he said. "We've just improved, week in and week out."

But perhaps the most notable difference may be the play on the defensive side of the ball.

After struggling in the first week, De Soto collected four interceptions for the second consecutive week, one of which Nick Billings returned for a touchdown. That score staked the Cats to a 2-0 lead against North.

"Defensively, we are really starting to understand some things," Scott said. "I'm pretty excited about the way the kids are grasping our coverages."

One thing that remains unclear, though, is who will get the majority of snaps under center once the real season begins in August.

Junior Logan Clark began the evening under center Monday, completing his first pass to receiver Mark England for a gain of about 10. Dylan Burford caught a pass in the end zone two completions later, putting De Soto up 1-0.

That was followed by two consecutive fruitless possessions by both teams before Piper evened the score at 1-1 with just over four minutes left in the scrimmage.

Jamel Townsend recorded an interception in the end zone with 45 seconds to go to preserve the tie.

Daniel Peterson, also a junior, started the second game at quarterback and threw two touchdowns while Clark added a third.

One touchdown by each signal caller was, at least in part, the result of the athletic ability Jamel Townsend displayed on fades to the corner of the end zone.

"(It makes it) a lot easier, having athletes like that," Peterson said. "You can just throw the ball up to him and let him go get them."

One of the quarterback candidates, sophomore Jeff Bowen, was not in attendance due to summer vacation, and Scott said the starting job is far from determined.

"You're not going to know what anybody can do until you put on the pads. And we didn't get to see (Bowen)," Scott said. "The juniors are doing a good job and it's just going to be one of those things that we're going to have to work through and I don't know that we'll have a quarterback by even the first or second week.

"If it becomes quarterback by committee, then that'll be the best thing for us. The way they're going right now, the two that played (Monday) have two distinct talents, and that's something that we've got to have on the field at different times."

The talents appear to be Peterson's pocket-passer nature versus Clark's overall strength. The build of the two passers seems to suggest Clark would be a more viable option with running plays and option-pass plays while Peterson could be used in situations that are strictly drop back and throw scenarios.

However it plays out, Scott was happy with the outcome his team put up on the board, regardless of how meaningful some may think passing league games are.

"That's why we keep score. We also understand, as coaches what the bigger picture is - getting a lot of quality reps, getting a lot of kids on the field and seeing what they can do, but at the same time we want to go out and win."

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