Off and running
Offense produces big plays in green and black scrimmage, Gardner looms
If it's a sign of things to come, good things are in store for the De Soto Wildcat football team this year.
To open up their intrasquad scrimmage Friday, starting quarterback candidate Logan Clark ran for a 9-yard gain. He then connected on a 60-yard, perfect-spiral bomb down the sideline to Jamel Townsend.
Then, as first outings can oftentimes go, the play was called back because of a misalignment penalty. The following play, Mark England broke off a 70-yard run around the left side.
"That's one of the nice things about our program is we've got some good skill kids. We've got a couple kids that, if it becomes a foot race, I think we're probably going to win it. If we get them out into open space, we have a chance," coach Brad Scott said. "That's something we've tried to do with them and we've been doing it for a couple years.
"These kids have a lot of experience doing that, and we're not yet to the point where our second unit can match up with our first unit athletically."
However, execution was part of that offensive success during Friday's scrimmage. Clark followed up the 60-yarder that was called back with a 55-yard strike to Townsend that was equally as impressive as the first. Then Daniel Peterson, another quarterback candidate, threw a nice ball down the middle on a seam route for a 29-yard gain.
"When we're playing against ourselves we're probably going to look pretty good at times on offense because we out-athlete a lot of people on the perimeter. But at the same time, our kids were executing. That's something that we really liked," Scott said. "Logan threw two balls that were right on the money to Jamel, and Jamel went and got them. And Mark stayed in behind his blockers and exploded through that seam and scored. I thought we did some nice things."
About the only negative thing that was noticeable to bystanders was the abundance of penalties, but that's somewhat to be expected in the first action of the year where referees are on the field to enforce alignment and false start penalties.
Scott attributed the penalties to just that, but also said that after watching film with the team there were some fundamental issues that needed correcting before facing Gardner Edgerton Friday.
"Fundamentals-wise, is our pad level low, are we stepping into the right gap and attacking with the right hands and that type of stuff," Scott said, "we felt good about it Friday night, then we watched the film and didn't feel so good about it. But then this week in practice the kids have really bought into what we're teaching them and we're really correcting a lot of those mistakes that we saw on Friday night."
For the Wildcats, those deficiencies will need to be nearly evaporated by the 7 p.m. Gardner game at home. The Blazers are on a few watch lists as potential contenders for the 5A state title, and are picked to be the best in De Soto's league and among the best in Johnson County, Scott said.