Wartburg's defense shines

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By The Staff


Morgan County News

WARTBURG — Defense was the theme of Sunbright and Wartburg’s three hours of scrimmage against each other last Friday evening.

When the final tally came in, Wartburg’s varsity enjoyed a 1-0 win, while the Bulldogs came out with a 2-0 victory in junior varsity action.

“They (defense) have really worked hard and they have gotten some great work. He (defensive coordinator Rodney Ellison) is running the ship right now and he has done well with it (defense),” explained Wartburg head coach Dan Shoemaker.

Wartburg held a 247-57 edge in total yards in varsity work.

“Defensively, I couldn’t be more pleased,” said Tiger head coach Johnny Harrison.

Wartburg’s lone score in varsity play came on their second offensive series with QB Tyler Trout hitting Drew Jenkins for an 11-yard scoring strike.

The only other scoring threat of the scrimmage came on Wartburg’s fourth and final offensive series as they got to the 5-yard line. However, Sunbright’s Garrett Starkey batted away a pass by Trout in the end zone to end the varsity portion of the scrimmage.

“Offense, we played alright in spots and then other times we didn’t play real well. That is the beauty of this thing is that none of this counts for scores or records or anything,” offered Shoemaker.

Both head coaches believe they still have work to do to prepare for the season.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do. This is still early. We have had camp all week and we have a lot of bumps and bruises. We had four players not playing and had two linemen that had never started a game in their life,” said Harrison.

“We got to work on our line. We’re going to have to move some boys that maybe don’t want to move, but I think they see now what the need is for this team. I think the kids realize if some guys move and step up then we can do some really good things.”

Shoemaker has a list of things that his team needs to get better at.

“We’re going to get better defensively, we’re going to get better in the running game, get better in our pass protections and get better in our screen game,” said Shoemaker.

Wartburg’s 247-yard offensive effort was led by senior QB Tyler Trout (7-16 for 72 yards with 1 TD, 1 INT passing, 7-83 rushing). Helping the Bulldogs grind out 175 rushing yards was Travis Hamby (8-65) and Drew Jenkins (3-19). Eugene Poole (3-41) and Jenkins (3-31, 1 TD) led the team in receiving.

“My goal was to work on the running game. I wanted to see if we could run the ball tonight. I think we did. Tyler (Trout) ran the option pretty well and we ran inside a little bit with our trapping game. Our sweeps were good too. We were able to run the ball tonight, which I didn’t think we did real well in the spring,” Shoemaker said.

Sunbright’s 57-yard offensive output was led by the rushing of Nick Henes (6-15) and the passing of Jesse England (2-3 for 43 yards with 1 INT). William Carroll (2-23) and Justin Huseman (2-23) led the Tigers in receiving. Garrett Starkey added 7 yards on 7 rushes and was 5-12 for 17 yards with a pick through the air.

“Offensively, we’ve got a long way to go. We have a lot of timing issues,” said Harrison.

The Bulldogs were led on defense by Travis Hamby (10 tackles, 5 behind the line, 3 sacks), Aaron Hutchison (7 tackles, 2 behind the line, 1 sack) and Drew Jenkins (6 tackles, 1 behind the line) and Cody Sexton (2 stops in the backfield) and Philip Daugherty each added 3 tackles. Eugene Poole (2 INT) and Timmy LeComte (1 sack) each had a big play on defense for Wartburg.

“Travis Hamby is a beast and it’s a pleasure to watch him play and grow and develop,” said Shoemaker.

“There is always rough spots when you are starting out with the first scrimmage. All in all, I got to be tickled to death with the defense. I think they played really well.”

Sunbright was paced on defense by Garrett Starkey (5 tackles, Jessie England (5 tackles) and Nick Henes (4 tackles, 1 behind the line). Ethan Davis (1 FR), Justin Huseman (1 INT) and Timmy Turner each added 3 tackles.

The two teams also got plenty of junior varsity work as they each had two 10-play series on offense with the Bulldogs earning a 2-0 win.

Wartburg’s Rusty Phillips scored on runs covering 5 yard and 1 yard to provide all the scoring.

Wartburg’s JV offense was paced by the 1-2 rushing punch of Steven Carroll (4-103) and Rusty Phillips (8-50, 2 TD). Michael Lloyd added 18 yards on 2 rushes. Phillips was 1-3 for 13 yards through the air. Dougie Nichols (1-13) had Wartburg’s only reception.

Sunbright’s offensive attack in JV was led by QB Dylan Kennedy (4-27 rushing, 4-9 for 64 yards, 3 INT passing). Brandon Welch added 18 yards on 4 carries. Tyler Langley (2-55) was the top receiver for the Tigers.

Wartburg sophomore Chad Wagner (7 tackles, 1 behind the line, 2 FR) was all over the field on defense. Darren Beaty added 4 tackles, while Nick Crozier (2 INT), Michael Lloyd (1 tackle in the backfield), Aaron Hutchison (1 sack) and Nikita Wright (1 INT) each had a big play on defense for the Bulldogs.

Sunbright was led on defense by Dustin Moore (6 tackles) and Brandon Welch (3 tackles, 1 behind the line, 1 sack. Austin Webb, Jacob Freels and Jeremiah Cerra each registered a tackle in the backfield.

The two teams finished the nearly three-hour scrimmage with some goal line work. Each team had four plays from the ten. Sunbright performed well in the drill and scored twice in their four plays, while holding the Bulldogs out of the end zone. Sunbright’s Garrett Starkey, who has been working as quarterback since the spring, got his first action at running back and scored on a pair of 10-yard runs.

“I just saw how tough our team was. I think we started getting tired and they just sucked it up. That is what we got to have. We have to win the second half,” Harrison said.

Wartburg travels to Knoxville Webb this Friday to join the Spartans, Kingston and Seymour in a four-way scrimmage.

“We got a good test this week (at Webb),” said Shoemaker.

“I’m tickled to death where we’ve gotten to so far. We’re on track and I think if we keep working hard like we have good things are going to happen.”

Sunbright goes to Monterey this Friday to face the Wildcats in another pre-season scrimmage.

“They (Monterey) is good. Coach (Billy) Heady has done a wonderful job up there. We want to play tough teams and that is the only way we get better,” Harrison said.

“You always look good in practice and it looks great on paper, but until you get here against somebody else then you don’t know where you stand.”