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Apalachee scrimmage makes coach proud

POSTED: August 9, 2014 11:00 a.m.
Adam Wynn/Barrow County News

A group of Apalachee linemen work on their blocking during a preseason practice before Friday’s scrimmage.

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For what started out a rainy Friday night in Georgia, the Apalachee Wildcats had a perfect evening to scrimmage the Morgan County Bulldogs in Madison.

“It was unbelievable that [the rain] was not an issue at all,” Apalachee High School head football coach Shane Davis said. “It did not rain one time on us the entire night.”

Morgan County would end up winning the first three quarters of varsity play 7-0, with Apalachee winning the fourth quarter 7-0 with mostly JV and second-string players, but the night Wildcat football coach Shane Davis considered the night a measurable success otherwise.

“I was proud of our kids. I thought our kids played extremely hard. I thought our kids were real physical for the first time out of practice in five days where we could go out and actually play,” Davis gloated. “With some of the moving around with kids that we had to do, I was really proud of them.”

For the Wildcats to hold a Morgan County team averaging more than 25 points last season to just a single touchdown Friday night showed some defensive stamina that Davis was proud to see.

“I thought their offense clicked on a couple plays there, and our defense was on their heels for a while,” Davis acknowledged. “I thought we bowed our necks well.

“They made some plays here and there on us and they had the ball in our territory a lot, but our defense found a way to hold them,” Davis added. "Our kids played hard."

One way the Wildcats held off Morgan County was turnovers, including three interceptions. Kyle Jackson pulled out two interceptions and Wright Patterson added the third.

Last season’s Bulldogs also averaged more than 260 yards per game on the ground with two rushers holding more than 500 yards on the season in Marquis Benton’s 854 and Melvin Davis’ 721, but the two seniors’ absence Friday night possibly held some sway. 

Morgan County’s leading returning rushers, Trey Chapman with 291 yards and Tyler Benford with 244, still gave the vaunted Morgan ground game some buoyancy. 

Even still, the Wildcats held their scrimmage partner to just a single score. 

As solid as Apalachee’s defense proved to be, the offense was not quite where Davis hoped it would be at this point.

“Our offense definitely didn’t click tonight. Offensively, we had too many turnovers,” Davis admitted.

Apalachee gave up the ball three times, twice on lost fumbles and once on an interception that, according to Davis, should have ended differently.

“It really shouldn’t have been. It wasn’t the quarterback’s fault, the receiver just missed it,” Davis pointed out. “We had another dropped ball that could’ve been a big first down. We had an overthrown ball in the end zone where the guy was wide open and would’ve given us the lead 7-0.

“We had some opportunities, but we had some bad moments. When it’s not going well, you’ve either got to have some big plays to fix it or you’ve got to do away with the mistakes,” Davis noted.

While Morgan County was missing two big playmakers, Apalachee was short one themselves with Jody Mathis’ graduation last year and a sizeable vacancy to be filled at his wing position.

Friday’s scrimmage deviated from the original script in a couple ways with the team originally having to wait before they could warm up due to some thunder and lightning. 

Apalachee retook the field at 6:30 p.m. for warm-ups, though, and the skies stayed clear from that point on.

The other change of plans came from another source on-high, although not as on-high, when the officials told both teams that they would have to play the third quarter like a regular game and were unable to do the situational practice that they had agreed on prior to the start. 

Unfortunately, both Apalachee and Morgan County had to follow normal procedures throughout the third quarter instead of getting to move the chains arbitrarily for more specific practice cases.

Even without the planned scenarios, Davis believes that his team got a good look at some real game situations and earned good practice for what a game might look like.

“We’ll be able to go back and watch the film, but we definitely got a little bit of everything. We had some short yardage. They were down there on the goal line, so we had some goal line defense. They got a look at their goal line defense,” Davis listed. “Both sides numerous times were doing a variety of stuff, so we got a little bit of everything.”

Apalachee will get back to practice this week in preparation for one more scrimmage when they host Monroe Area High School Friday night at R. Harold Harrison Stadium.



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