Special to the Grove Sun
COLCORD-Football scrimmages, much like Broadway previews, are all about taking something you’ve been practicing for a while and testing it under live, albeit more controllable circumstances. And, in what is often the case with those Broadway productions, the Colcord Hornets scrimmage against Keys, Thursday night, might well be the recipient of mixed reviews.
With the temperature at and above the mid 90’s, the evening commenced with the Hornets’ second team offense, led by quarterback, Austin Gilbert taking a series of snaps against the Cougar’s second defensive unit. And from the opening play, it was obvious that the Colcord reserve offense was clearly in control. After moving down the field, almost at will, Gilbert, who head coach Bud Simmons describes as his ‘Sophomore Burner’, connected with sophomore receiver Zach Wright for a 20 yard touchdown.
The Hornet’s second defensive unit took care of business as well. After almost totally shutting down the Cougar running game, Colcord freshman Sam Salinas picked off the very first pass attempt by the visitors.
On the ensuing series Colcord’s first offense took on the Keys starters, where the Hornets encountered some rough sledding on the ground. And when Colcord did finally put it in the air, a Cougar linebacker got himself between quarterback Canaan Sherrell and wide receiver Rusty James to intercept the toss.
Several plays later, however James hauled in a Sherrell pass with a spectacular catch on the 5-yard line. James was miraculously able to land on his feet, but a quick whistle prevented him from crossing the goal line. The visitors answered with a march of their own that culminated in a score.
After the first units were sent to the sideline for a breather, the backup squads took the field again with the Hornets on defense. And on the sixth play of the drive Wright intercepted the Keys quarterback.
After keeping the Cougars out of the end zone again, Colcord took control of the football. Marching from their own 20, the Hornets got to the five where Wright, making an even stronger bid for more playing time, scooted into the end zone.
The Colcord first team offense finally made their presence known when Chance Staneart made a catch in the flat and crossed against the grain to turn a big loss into a gain. But the big rush of the game came when Chris Aguilar broke to the outside, reversed direction and picked up a big Darwin Davis block for an 80 yard TD and the final scoring play of the night.
“Keys always has good athletes and they’re well coached, so we knew going in they would test us and they did,” Colcord head coach Bud Simmons said afterward. “I feel like I didn’t do a very good job of having our kids prepared tonight. We were just looking a head a little bit.”
Simmons praised his team for overcoming a slow start and finishing strong. “I felt like we caught our second wind midway through and buckled down and played pretty good. We had our good moments and our ugly moments too. The main thing is we didn’t get anybody hurt. This was a good scrimmage for us because it showed us what we needed to work on.”