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Tigers pick up steam in scrimmage

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By Goose Lindsay, Sports Editor

 

Rockwood head coach John Webb wasn't too happy with his team's performance in their first fall scrimmage on Aug. 1 at Cookeville, but the same couldn't be said Thursday evening as the Tigers showed much improvement in rolling to a 5-2 TD advantage over Sunbright at Civitan Field.

"We got better," Webb said. "We competed the whole night tonight and we didn't do that last week. I thought we came off the football much better tonight and did a good job of getting our blocks."

While Webb was happy, Sunbright head coach Scott Stephens knows his team has some work to do before they open the season on Friday, Aug. 22 against King's Academy.

"Tonight was rough for us, but it was a good read for us and shows us what we need to get better at," Stephens said. "Our defense was horrible. I don't think our seniors did a good job of leading us tonight. We had one starter out and replaced him with a freshman that wasn't ready, but that didn't make a big difference."

Offensively, Rockwood scored every time they had the ball. One possession would see the Tigers score twice due to how the scrimmage was set up.

In all, Rockwood amassed 350 yards offense in 38 plays.

The Tigers ran the ball 30 times for 228 yards with Drake Long leading the way. He rushed for 91 yards and two TDs on only seven carries. Long's TD runs covered three and 51 yards.

Justin Domon added a six-yard TD run for the Tigers while backup QB Ryan McCain scored from four yards out.

Starting QB Will Warner was sharp on the evening as he completed 5-of-7 passes for 122 yards with one TD. The TD was a 70-yard slant to Austin Cooper.

"Will threw it well tonight," Webb said. "He's doing a good job of leading us and getting us into the right situation."

The focus of Sunbright's offense on the night was sophomore Luke Daniel, who is taking over for all-state performer Jacob Swint. Daniel completed 13-of-23 passes for 206 yards with two TDs and one interception on the evening, but Stephens believes his quarterback can do better.

"He was inconsistent," Stephens said. "He threw the long ball well at times, but he was a little slow and deliberate in the short game. He's got to learn to get it out quicker to allow our receivers to make some plays.

"But the big thing is that we have to remember is that he's a sophomore and is going to make some mistakes until he learns everything. The big thing is for our older guys to pick him up and lead him until he's ready. We've got a lot of upperclassmen at the skill positions and on the line that can help him."

Sunbright's two scores came on a 70-yard pass to John Mark Stephens and a 46-yard pass to Ethan Northup.

Rockwood's defense did limit Sunbright to 32 yards rushing on 17 carries, and Tiger DB Drake Long did pick off a pass.

"I thought we settled and were flying to the football better tonight," Webb said. "They have a tough offensive scheme to play against, but I thought we did okay."

The two teams will meet again on Friday at the 2014 Roane County Football Jamboree at Oliver Springs.