By Tim Chambers
Tim’s Pigskin Pulpit is not designed to be a substitute for your Sunday morning sermon, however its aim is to give you some insight on Johnson County High School Football.
And for that reason, “it will preach.”
Thursday’s scrimmage game at Sullivan North is today’s topic. I left there with some mixed reviews.
Things didn’t start well for the Horns. We failed to move the football early and gave up a touchdown due to a defensive breakdown in the secondary.
North scored on a 50-yard touchdown pass after the Longhorns failed to cover the receiver. This came after the Horns had stuffed the first couple of plays on tackles by Hayden Osborne and Tyler Norris.
But the good plays sure did outweigh the bad ones.
Gage Hampton showed a ton of speed by outracing the pack on a 71-yard touchdown jaunt. It was all set up due to an outstanding block from senior lineman Hunter Wright.
The Longhorns showed they had some other big play potential.
Nathan Arnold threw a 27-yard touchdown pass to Shane Greer on a beautiful fade route. Norris raced 32 yards with a fumble for another Longhorn score.
“I thought we played pretty well after those first two possessions,” said JCHS’ head coach Don Kerley. “We came out in the spread and maybe I shouldn’t have. We played better as the game went on. North has a very good football team.”
Arnold showed he could be a force to reckon with. He completed six consecutive passes on one scoring drive including a pair each to Zack Eller and Bud Icenhour.
Another surprise was the running of fullback Troy Arnold. The “Brut” ran smack over a pair or tacklers that allowed the Longhorns to convert on two third downs. He also caught a screen pass for 13 yards.
The Longhorn defense bent at times but didn’t break. They stopped North three times inside the 30.
Osborne and Norris had four tackles each in the early going. Jordan Edes had a pair of good defensive plays as did RJ Snyder.
A couple of good defensive plays in the secondary by Josh Herman and Will Kerley prevented North from hitting a pair of long passes. Sam Kerley got pressure on the quarterback on a pair of pass attempts that forced a couple of errant throws.
The Longhorns second unit got a 55-yard run by Curtis Lowe but couldn’t punch it into the end zone.
“We saw a lot of things we need to go back and work on,” said Kerley on Friday after the scrimmage. “But overall we saw more good things than we did bad ones.”
Five things you need to know straight from Tim’s Pigskin Pulpit
1. The Longhorns have several big play threats on offense that can score at the drop of a hat.
2. The defense fared well against the run but needs work defending the pass.
3. We don’t have the bacon up front in our offensive and defensive lines, but we make up for it with our speed, agility and hustle.
4. Hard work in the weight room was evident. Many of our players are a lot stronger and faster than they were last season.
5. This coaching staff appears to have lit a fire under this team. They made very few mistakes and their depth appeared to wear North down. They played with an attitude which was great to see.