Sam Strickland racked up 213 total yards and three touchdowns while guiding his half of the Scots' intrasquad team to a 24-0 win in the junior varsity portion of Tuesday's Blue-Gold game. Strickland led his team to touchdowns on his first two possessions, tossing a perfect fade pattern to Max Marcyes for a 19-yard score, and later a highlight 56-yard bomb to a wide open Jackson Hauser on a deep post.
Strickland, Tyler Rentfro and Scott Ellerman rotated at quarterback and spread their combined 17 completions around to 10 different receivers. Strickland finished 10-of-18 for 151 yards and three touchdowns. His 10-yard out-pattern to Costa Kell for a 10-yard touchdown ended the 50-minute scrimmage.
The defenses came up with some feature plays, as well. Philip Pinkston came around the end and knock the ball loose from Rentfro near the end of the extended half, and Bradfield Biggers picked up the ball and returned it 36 yards for a touchdown.
David Hughes timed his jumped just right to snag an interception on a fade pattern early on. Jack Walter made a diving interception four possessions later. Along the line, Drew Stephens burst into the backfield and sacked Ellerman for a nine-yard loss early in the scrimmage.
Kaden Buchanan blitzed from the back side and got to Strickland before he could react on a seven-yard sack, and also had a trap for a loss. Will Clarke had a six-yard sack.
Dominic Massamillian made four tough inside runs in limited action, rushing for 31 yards. Strickland led all rushers with 62 yards.
Hauser's big play made his the game's leading receiver with 66 yards. Marcyes added a 42-yard catch from Rentfro to close with 63 yards. Timothy Sauer (27 yards) and Tanner Rouquette (25 yards) also had big-play receptions.
Below are the unofficial offensive statistics for the JV game.
BLUE-GOLD JUNIOR VARSITY BOXSCORE
(unofficial stats as kept by Scott Farrell)
Rushing: Sam Strickland 9-62, Dominic Massmilian 4-31, Alex Keeton 4-13, Scott Ellerman 3-(-3), Tyler Rentfro 7-(-9).
Passing: Sam Strickland 10-18-0, 151 yards, 3 TD; Tyler Rentfro 7-13-2, 104 yards; Scott Ellerman 0-1-0.
Receiving: Jackson Hauser 3-66, TD; Max Marcyes 3-63, TD; Timothy Sauer 1-27, Tanner Rouquette 1-25, Costa Kell 2-25, TD; Zach Weber 2-11, Alex Keeton 2-10, Jack Campbell 1-10, Hayden Greer 1-10, Jordan Gargiulo 1-8.
Defensive statistics were not kept.
It was alumni night at Highlander Stadium during Tuesday's Blue-Gold game. At least five former Scots players were spotted in the stands or in the press box, but the one getting most of the attention was Jeff Howeth, who was sporting a national championship ring won with Northwest Missouri State last year.
The Bearcats have made a utility player out of Howeth, who is coming off a redshirt season and has four years of eligibility left. Howeth, a defensive back at HP, has been deep snapping and playing on special teams' kick return units in addition to playing his normal safety position. He's listed as a second-team safety and has two seniors ahead of him.
"Once they graduate, I should have three years of starting ahead of me," he said.
Howeth's ring was an eye-catcher, and is equal in size to the rings the Scots earned with their 2005 state championship.
Howeth thinks his brother Jake, who is competing for the Scots' starting quarterback job but could also end up in the secondary, has the potential to play in college too. Not that he's biased (yeah, right), but he sees the same skills in Jake that have helped him play a part in a NCAA Division II national title team.
"He's got the speed at 4.4, and he's had the coaching that puts you ahead of some other recruits," Jeff said.
He declined the suggestion to line up with Jake on the goal line for a post-game 50-yard sprint. "Jake's faster than I am. But I'll beat him on the backpedal," he said.
Also in the crowd was Anthony Schlegel, who has a dozen or so Scots enrolled in his Schlegel Hardcore Elite Training program each summer. Schlegel played for two NFL teams and has worked out for the Florida Tuskers of the new United Football League. The former All-State linebacker and wrestling state champion at HP keeps in frequent contact with head coach Randy Allen.
SMU offensive lineman Kelly Turner was also spotted in the crowd. Former HP and NFL offensive lineman Kyle Williams stopped by the football office earlier in the month.
Other notes from Tuesday's game.
* One of the things Allen thrives on is taking advantage of extra opportunities a defense provides. On the Gold team's last possession, a bad snap bounced behind Burgin, and none of a handful of players could fall on the ball before Burgin finally retrieved it for a 27-yard loss.
The Blue team was called offsides on the play, turning what would have been a third-down-and-36 into a second-down-and-4. Two plays later on fourth down, Burgin hit Campbell Puckett for a 32-yard gain for a first down, and Preston Miller scored on the next play for a 35-28 lead for the Gold. It was a classic momentum changer and a trademark HP recovery.
* The Blue team's defense handed the Gold offense six first downs on penalties. A skeleton crew of volunteer officials from the North Texas Officials' Chapter whistled Blue's defense for two pass intereference calls, two holding calls, a face mask and a roughing-the-passer. Blue was called for nine penalties for 99 yards overall.
* Here's the upcoming calendar for HP football heading into the fall:
June 7 - 7-on-7 league begins schedule
Aug. 9 - Team conditioning practices begin
Aug. 13 - Team contact practices begin
Aug. 20 - HP scrimmage vs. Plano West at Kimbrough Stadium
Aug. 28 - Season-opener vs. Everman at SMU's Ford Stadium
One of the hidden statistics in any offense is protection time. But any coach will tell you no numbers, grading percentages, or other offensive-line-oriented statistics mean more to a team's success.
The HP offensive line has been a strength in the program for years, and even in Tuesday's intrasquad Blue-Gold Game that group stood out, giving the two quarterbacks the time and a handful of running backs the holes to amass 745 total yards combined.
Those are the most relevant stats for the linemen and show that the Scots appear set for the fall with another set of interchangeable parts across the five positions. HP's starting lineup for the Blue and Gold teams are listed below, along with the offensive box score for the game.
BLUE TEAM STARTING OFFENSIVE LINEUP
Backfield: Jake Howeth (quarterback), Patrick Campbell (running back)
Receivers: (wide receivers) Ben McElroy, Dalton Stogner; (slot receivers) Colin Stringer, Travis Willoughby
Offensive Line: (tackles) Kyle Stouffer, Tanner Hutt; (center) William Rury; (guards) Barker Carlock, Logan Campbell
GOLD TEAM STARTING OFFENSIVE LINEUP
Backfield: Blake Burgin (quarterback), Preston Miller (running back)
Receivers: (wide receivers) Will Morris, Wills Manley; (slot receivers) Campbell Puckett, Will Guerriero
Offensive Line: (tackles) Tanner Stone, Claiborne Meyers; (center) Coleman Glass; (guards) Blake Shorter, Josh Williams
BLUE TEAM OFFENSIVE STATISTICS
Rushing: Jake Howeth 15-98; Colin Stringer 2-54, TD; Patrick Campbell 1-1.
Passing: Jake Howeth 28-40-0, 294 yards, 4 TD.
Receiving: Colin Stringer 7-93, 2 TD; Ben McElroy 5-70, TD; Patrick Campbell 5-63; Dalton Stogner 8-53 TD; Matt Bannon 2-12; Travis Willoughby 1-3.
GOLD TEAM OFFENSIVE STATISTICS
Rushing: Preston Miller 13-58, 1 TD; Brady Burgin 4-8, TD; Campbell Puckett 1-5.
Passing: Brady Burgin 21-30-0, 227 yards, 3 TD.
Receiving: Preston Miller 10-106, 2 TD; Will Morris 6-60, TD; Campbell Puckett 1-32; Will Guerriero 3-23; Wills Manley 1-6.
One of the priorities for HP this spring was to find the right mix of players for its secondary. Finding which players to assign to its defense would be a bonus, and the Scots accomplished that to a good degree as well, HP defensive coordinator Mark Howeth said.
But the secondary was a must.
Howeth said the bulk of the secondary is set as spring drills come to a close, with only a few tweaks left before preseason workouts begin. Part of that rests in the availability of Jake Howeth, who is competing for the starting quarterback job. If he starts on offense, his plays on defense will be numbered, if not eliminated.
"The best part about the spring was that we found our youth," Mark Howeth said. "We know what the older kids can do. We got a good look at the younger guys, and there's a lot of them that are going to help us and maybe start."
Replacing two cornerbacks might have difficult, Mark Howeth said, if not for the quick progression of Brant Green, Nick Mouch and Chris McDade. Mouch moves over from playing running back on the junior varsity offense, and Green has grown to 6-foot-1 but still kept his 4.5 speed. McDade played safety on the junior varsity last year.
"(Mouch's) learning in a hurry, and Green's getting better every day," Mark Howeth said. "I think we've answered our cornerback questions."
Further cementing the secondary are Blake Poston, a starting contender at safety, Hayden Fronterhouse and Mark Gottsacker, who played extensively at cornerback also during Tuesday's Blue-Gold Game. Jake Howeth completes the mix if he's not starting at quarterback.
The biggest improvement is at inside linebacker, where Mark Howeth said a sophomore transfer into HP, Guy Tom Kellogg, has moved his way into a possible starting position heading into the fall.
"If we can go home after the spring with a good depth chart and feel we have the guys on the right side of the ball, we've accomplished a lot," Mark Howeth said.
Special thanks goes to HP senior Michael Gardner, who kept the defensive statistics for both teams during Tuesday's game. Listing the lineups and stats below would not have been possible without his assistance - Scott Farrell.
The Blue and Gold teams were equally matched by the coaches prior to the Blue-Gold game, which makes determining a preseason depth chart difficult. Here are the starting defensive lineups both teams used Tuesday, and their defensive statistics from the game. A depth chart will have to wait.
BLUE STARTING LINEUP:
Defensive Line: Thomas Perry (DE), Mark Dowdall (DT), Tony Perez (DE)
Linebackers: (outside) Holt Perlman and Davis Briggs; (inside) Hardy Davis and Reid Oden)
Cornerbacks: Brant Green, Luke Utley
Safeties: Taylor Silva, Chris McDade
GOLD STARTING LINEUP:
Defensive Line: Peyton Loftis (DE), Alex Franks (DT), Clay Crews (DE)
Linebackers: (outside) Nick Mouch and Greg Hise; (inside) Guy Tom Kellogg and Mauricio Garza)
Cornerbacks: Hayden Fronterhouse, Mark Gottsacker
Safeties: Blake Poston, Scott Ellerman.
BLUE TEAM DEFENSIVE STATISTICS
Sacks: Tony Perez 2.
Tackles: Mark Dowdall 8, Holt Perlman 6, Tony Perez 5, Hardy Davis 5, Chris McDade 5, Brant Green 4, Reid Oden 4, Davis Briggs 3, Thomas Perry 3, Stephen Wise.
Pressures: Thomas Perry 2, Tony Perez 2, Hardy Davis, Holt Perlman, Reid Oden.
Passes Broken Up: Brant Green, Chris McDade.
GOLD TEAM DEFENSIVE STATISTICS
Sacks: Blake Boston.
Tackles: Mauricio Garza 7, Nick Mouch 6, Blake Poston 5, Peyton Loftis 5, Hayden Fronterhouse 5, Greg Hise 4, Mason Shaw 4, Clay Crews 3, Mark Gottsacker 2, Guy Tom Kellogg 2, Alex Franks 2, Joe Lang, Scott Ellerman.
Pressures: Greg Hise, Peyton Loftis.
Passes Broken Up: Mark Gottsacker 2.
Three things are apparent coming out of HP's spring football practices.
One - The Scots' offense appears to already be in mid-season form.
Two - HP doesn't know who will lead that offense in the fall.
Three - The defense has found some anchors, but as a whole is still a work in progress.
There were other answers too as to the Scots' progression toward the 2010 season during its annual Blue-Gold Game on Tuesday. But in a rare occasion at Highlander Stadium, the statistical numbers put up by both teams took a back seat to the game's ending.
Colin Stringer outjumped two defenders to catch a 31-yard fade pass from Jake Howeth on the final play in regulation, then the same pair hooked up on a two-point conversion on the next play as the Blue beat the Gold, 36-35. It was a wild finish to an intrasquad game between equally-paired teams, and a notable comeback in a game that the Gold team led 28-14 in the third quarter.
As for the offenses? They combined for 745 yards.
And the quarterbacks? Jake Howeth and Brady Burgin will go into the fall as exhibits 1 and 1A, and head coach Randy Allen won't say who has an edge following spring drills.
"We saw a lot from both of them," Allen said. "Both of them made big plays when they needed to. Jake is one of our better athletes, and if he's not at quarterback he can play at running back or safety on defense. He was our leading scorer last year, so there's a lot we can do with him.”
Howeth, on the whole, showed little rust coming out of the recent baseball season. The rising senior only practiced three times with the varsity following the Scots' elimination from the baseball playoffs.
He hit only four of his first nine passes, but opened up the second half hitting 13 consecutive passes for 124 yards and two touchdowns, near perfection in the Scots' controlled passing game.
In the game, Howeth finished 28-of-40 for 194 yards and four touchdowns, guiding his Blue team to touchdowns on all three second-half possessions to mount the comeback. He also rushed for 98 yards on 15 carries.
Burgin, a rising junior, showed similiar consistency with the Gold team, but without as many opportunities. He finished 21-of-30 for 227 yards and three touchdowns, and completed 10 of his final 13 attempts for more than half of that yardage and two of the touchdowns.
The starting quarterback decision will come from more than just statistics. But paired together Howeth and Burgin put on quite a show for the thousand or so fans in attendance, and neither team committed a turnover.
Howeth and Burgin had plenty of help.
HP's receivers on both sides put on a show too, highlighted by the final play from Stringer, who also had a 50-yard touchdown run on an end-around play. But there were also Ben McElroy's 20-yard off-balance fade catch at the 1-yard line, with enough left to spin into the end zone for a touchdown. Or Preston Miller's 32-yard touchdown dash down the middle after taking a quick slant on the left side. Miller led all receivers with 10 catches for 106 yards and two touchdowns.
Or Will Morris slicing through the middle of the Blue defense to catch a post pattern in stride from Burgin. Campbell Puckett contributed a key fourth-down play, salvaging a bobbled snap by Burgin and getting open on a crossing pattern for a 32-yard play. Miller ran in from five yards out on the next play for a 35-28 Gold lead.
“We had quite a few receivers make plays,” Allen said. “We’re two-deep at receiver and feel pretty confident. We’ve got some players. We thought we divided them up evenly, and it was proven by the score and how competitive it was.
HP will play in a 7-on-7 league again this summer, and resumes practice again with conditioning starting August 9. The first day for contact drills is August. 13. The Scots scrimmage at Plano West on Aug. 20, and the season-opener against Everman in the Tom Landry Classic is Aug. 28 at SMU.