CHATTANOOGA — Both Bradley Central and Cleveland traveled down to Finley Stadium to get one final scrimmage under their belts before this season kicks into high gear.
While the Bears’ experience gave them an edge over the Howard Hustlin’ Tigers for a 13-0 win, an injury-stricken Blue Raiders team fell to the Baylor Red Raiders 7-3.
“This was a dress rehearsal and we didn’t want to get any kids hurt. We accomplished that and now it’s time for the real deal on Friday night,” Bradley head coach Damon Floyd said.
Unsure if his team’s offense will consist mainly of passing or running, Coach Floyd acknowledged that the Bears still had work to do.
“We’re going to do whatever it takes to move the football,” Coach Floyd stated. “We’ve got to get better at running the football and we’ve still got a long way to go before next week.”
Senior running back Christian Hamilton showed that he was more than capable of moving the ball down the field and set up senior fullback DJ Moyse to get Bradley on the board with a 4-yard run into the endzone five minutes into the 20 minute scrimmage.
The Bears’ next touchdown came nearly eight minutes later, when sophomore quarterback Cole Copeland fired off a 35-yard pass to junior receiver Tyler Carpenter.
“I thought Cole did his job,” Floyd declared.”As long as he takes what the defense gives him, doesn’t try to force anything and lets his playmakers make plays, he will be fine.”
Sophomore receiver Trevon Hill made his presence known Friday evening after being able to snatch up a pass while lying on his back.
“We’re expecting big things from him down the road,” Floyd commented. “I’m not sure how much he’ll contribute this year – he still needs a lot of work, but he’s getting better and working hard. He made a great catch tonight which is what we’re asking him to do.”
Bradley Central will host Polk County in a “Backyard Brawl” Friday night at 7:30 p.m.
BAYLOR 7, CLEVELAND 3
With a good chunk of his starter on the injured list, Cleveland head coach Ron Crawford was forced to do a bit of shuffling around on short notice.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do, but I was pleased with what we were able to get done in a week’s time, having to change some things to help our team be successful. Our number one goal is to get better, so that will be our focus all next week,” Crawford explained.
Despite falling to the Red Raiders, the scrimmage served its purpose and got many of the less-seasoned players some quality time on the field.
“We had a lot of guys playing in their first varsity (style) game so it’s a positive. Everyone was healthy by the time we finished up, so that was another positive,” Crawford proclaimed.
Baylor QB Nick Tiano threw a 41-yard scoring pass on fourth-and-5 for the Red Raiders lone touchdown of the scrimmage.
Austin Massey was 3-for-6 during his time on the field.
“I thought Austin did fine, but I would like to see him tuck the ball when he scrambles. He’s a tough kid mentally and physically who will continue to make improvements and get better,” Crawford said.
In their next possession, Cleveland had a 15-play drive that covered 50 yards and ended with first year kicker Brandon Romero, a senior soccer standout, hitting a 37-yard field goal.
“Brandon came out and to see him do something positive like that was awesome,” Crawford commented.
The Raiders return to Finley Stadium this Thursday for their first game of the season against McCallie at 7:30 p.m.
MEIGS COUNTY 14, POLK COUNTY 0
SWEETWATER — After a very physical scrimmage at Tyner the night before, Polk County couldn’t get anything going in jamboree action Friday evening in Sweetwater.
“I told the guys going in the first team was only going to play one series and we stuck to that,” explained Wildcat head coach Derrick Davis about the 14-0 defeat at the hands of Meigs County.
“Our first-team defense held them to a three-and-out in the opening series, but after they punted we had the ball go off the hands of a receiver, was intercepted and returned to about our 20 on the first offensive play. That was the end of our first-teamers playing,” he related.
Meigs County, under the direction of first-year coach Jason Fitzgerald, who directed Rhea County for many years and Hixson to the state quarterfinals last season, went right down and scored. The Tigers added another scoring drive later in the 20-minute session.
“Our 2s, 3s and 4s played 18 of the 20 minutes. We couldn’t get anything going offensively,” the veteran coach offered. “We had two guys get hurt at the scrimmage Thursday, so we didn’t want to risk losing anybody else with things starting for real this week.”
For the sixth straight year, Polk County will open the gridiron season in a “Backyard Brawl” against Bradley Central at Bear Stadium Friday evening.