TULSA- The Grove Ridgerunners traveled to Bishop Kelley High School in Tulsa to take part in the Auto Showcase Bowl on Friday, their final preseason tune-up before beginning the 2010 football season.
The Ridgerunners took on not just the host Comets, a Class 5A quarterfinalist a year ago, but also the Metro Christian Patriots.
It was a tale of two scrimmages for the Ridgerunners. The night’s festivities were divided into two sessions. In the first session the teams alternated with ten minute sessions from the 40 yard line.
Grove wasted no time getting started in their initial possession of the evening. Quarterback Adam Steffenson found Brody Scott down the right sideline with a 60 yard pass for a touchdown.
But the Ridgerunner defense would struggle in its first time on the field against Metro Christian. Using a smart mix of runs and passes, the Patriots marched down the field and scored on a four yard run.
Metro then followed up with another drive that culminated in a 34-yard touchdown run.
The Comets would also score against Grove, driving methodically down the field for a 22-yard touchdown.
On their second session of the night against Metro the Ridgerunners lost running back Buck Maples, who limped off the field with an apparent knee injury. His status for Friday’s game against Miami will be evaluated this week.
Even without their star runner, the Grove offense found traction behind the running of Bobby Harris and Jarrod Leach, who would eventually score from 20 yards out on an option pitch.
But things took a dark turn for the Ridgerunner offense in the first “mini-game” against Bishop Kelley. The 25-minute game simulated game conditions.
The Ridgerunners went first against the Comets and failed to pick up a first down on any of their three possessions of the game.
Meanwhile the Comets found their footing on their second possession of the game, moving 44 yards after a GHS punt in six plays. The drive finished with a 20-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Donnie Walton to tight end Alex Powell to give Bishop Kelley a 7-0 lead.
After a three and out from Grove, the Comets drove down the field for another score. This time the Comets went 41 yards in seven plays, with running back Corey Bright finishing the drive with a two-yard touchdown.
The Grove defense would stiffen on the final two Bishop Kelley possessions, resulting in a 14-0 final in game one.
That momentum would carry over for the Ridgerunner defense in the second game against Metro Christian.
After Grove fumbled on their second possession, giving the Patriots the ball at the Grove 7, the GHS defense pushed the Patriots back to the 20-yard line, thanks in part to a pass interference penalty on an apparent Patriot touchdown pass. A fourth down incompletion ended the Metro possession.
But on their last possession of the night the Grove defense would finally crack.
Taking over at the Grove 48 following a punt, the Patriots needed 10 plays to cover that distance, finishing the drive with an 18-yard touchdown pass from Andrew Heanon to Troy Jensen with 2:30 left in the game for the final 7-0 margin.
“You don’t really win or lose a scrimmage,” Grove head coach Dennis Millican said afterward. “We did some negative things and some positive things. Now we have to turn our focus to Miami.”