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Home News-Telegram Sports Wildcats get wake-up call at L-E

Wildcats get wake-up call at L-E

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    TEXARKANA, Tx. — Sulphur Springs started football season off with more of a fizzle than a bang.

    Giving up three scores to 3A Liberty-Eylau, the Wildcats did not have the performance Sulphur Springs head football coach Greg Owens had hoped for on the cool August night at Harris Field.
    “We certainly did not scare any of our district opponents,” said Owens talking to the media after the game. “Maybe this will be a wake-up call to some people that we need to do things better. We need to have an urgency and enthusiasm in practice about getting better. Overall, in this scrimmage, we just didn’t play well. We messed up on a lot of little things. We need more passion, we were just pushing people around and not tackling.”
    Owens said, “Liberty-Eylau has some talent, they are an athletic team. I just expected more from us against them. We made too many little mistakes. I hope they are correctable errors. We just did not play with much rhythm on offense. We had a good first drive, we were going into drive and made mistakes. We have to be more consistent.”
    The highlight of the game for Wildcat fans was the five turnovers that the Sulphur Springs defense forced.
    Liberty-Eylau's pistol offense netted three scores during the night. Quarterback Rashaan Donelson connected with standout Davion Hall for one score. Hall, an pre-season all-state player, is being heavily recruited by Baylor, LSU and Alabama. The 6-3, 194-pound free safety/receiver scored on offense and had an interception on defense.
    Sulphur Springs had their high-octane offense limited to one score. Senior back Willy Ivery raced over from one-yard in the timed half against the Leopards. Quarterback Larry Pryor was 10 of 15 for over 150 yards.
    In the controlled scrimmage, the Leopards took the ball first on offense and quickly mounted a drive. The 70-yard scoring possession was capped when Donelson threw a short pattern to Hall which he turned into a 10-scoring play.
    Pryor started the game with a hot hand, completing his first six passes in a row. Pryor threw to Lacy for a short gain. Ivery picked up three on a run off tackle. Pryor threw to Alex Burney for a completion which netted a first down over the middle. Pryor then went back to Lacy for a short gain. The passing game continued to click with Pryor throwing a deep sideline pattern to Burney for a nice pickup and a first down. Ivery had a short run, keeping the L-E defense honest. Pryor went back to Cain Cody for a pass which netted another first down. Traylon Duffey picked up five yards on  a short run. Duffey then caught a pass out of the backfield. Tim Monk also saw time at running back and picked up six yards on run behind nice blocking to the outside. Pryor took off on a broken play when he fumbled the snap, but he recovered to get positive yardage. Pryor’s next pass went off the hands of a receiver on a screen play for his first miss of the scrimmage. The Wildcats made it to the five-yard line of the Leopards before a sack on Pryor and penalty. Sulphur Springs had nothing to show for the first possession.
    Sulphur Springs got the ball back when Jaylon Hawkins picked off a pass by Donelson. Under scrimmage rules, the Leopards got the ball back. Moments later the Wildcats turned the ball over again with the Wildcats in the right place to fall on the pigskin.
    On the next series of plays for the Wildcats offense, Parker Aguilar took snaps at quarterback. Aguilar’s second pass of the night was picked off by Liberty-Eylau. Two plays later Aguilar was sacked. Duffey had a five-yard run for a positive play for Sulphur Springs. Aguilar found an open receiver and threw pass over the middle to Cody.
    Punting drills were then held by both teams. Ryan Watson and Ivery booted two each. Ivery, new to the role as punter, was cautioned about catching the low snap with his knee on the ground. The official and coaches explained to the speedster, that he would be ruled down where his knee touched. Sulphur Springs went into kick return formation with Burney and Lacy catching all with no problems.
    The team then ended the scrimmage with a running clock of 30 minutes on the scoreboard.
    Liberty-Eylau got the ball first and again Donalson went to Hall for a first down and good gain for the Leopards. Two plays later Sulphur Springs recovered a fumble and took over possession.
    Pryor passed for eight yards and Ivery took off for a short gain. On a short yardage play, the Leopards held Sulphur Springs a yard short of the first down.
    Owens said, “That was a play we have to have. We had to get to the sticks and get the first down and not dance around. That was a mistake we made that we can’t afford to happen during the season.”
    Liberty-Eylau took over on downs, but were held for only a short gain on three plays. The Sulphur Springs defense forced a punt.
    Sulphur Springs took over at their own 10-yard line with 22:22 left in the timed half. Ivery ran wide for eight yards. Pryor’s next pass down the far sideline fell incomplete. Watson was called on to punt and booted a rugby-style kick.
    The Leopards did not waste anytime to get on the scoreboard with Donalson throwing a touchdown pass from 55-yards out for a score. The extra point gave the home team a 7-0 lead with 20:07 left.
    Sulphur Springs showed a spark on their next possession. Pryor connected with Lacy for a 33-yard gain to get the team out of a hole. Duffey had a short run. Hall for the Leopards stepped in front of Pryor’s next pass for an interception.
    Liberty-Eylau took over at their own 30-yard line. Hall had another reception for a first down. Then the Leopards went to the running game and score on a D.Q. Steeles. The point after try failed, but with 16:40 left in the timed half, the Leopards were up 13-0.
    Neither team could get rolling as they exchanged punts. Then with 7:27 left, the Wildcats began a scoring drive from their own 35.  Lacy caught a bubble screen pass for a nine-yard gain. Ivery ran for two yards and the first down. Then Pryor connected with Lacy for a 45-yard gain down to the one-yard line of the Leopards. Lacy beat coverage deep and Pryor had time to deliver the ball to the streaking receiver. Ivery closed out the drive with a one-yard scamper to the end zone. The extra point try by Watson was wide. The Wildcats now trailed 13-6 with 5:58 left.
    The Wildcats were unable to get another score. A pass by Aguilar was tipped at the line and intercepted. Liberty-Eylau was up 13-6 when the period and the scrimmage ended.
    “I was not pleased with how the scrimmage came out,” said Triston Abron, Sulphur Springs defensive coordinator. “I’ll take the plus-five turnovers. But we gave up too many first downs. We have to make third down stops and get off the field. This was our first scrimmage, we can learn from this. I think we are farther along on defense than we were at this point last year.”
    During the sub-varsity part of the scrimmage, Sulphur Springs competed on the junior varsity and ninth grade level.
    Coach Kurt McCain said of the JV, “This was an eye-opener for a few of these players. We gave up too much yardage early, but I was really proud of how we played on the second set of plays. We did a lot of hitting the second time around. We gave up two scores, one of them was called back by a penalty.”
    Ninth grade coach Chris Valdovinos said, “ Standouts were Ricky Alvarez, Braylon Adams and Taylor Ibarra. Sloam McGahee, Adams and B.J. Hall played well on defense. Overall, it was a pretty good scrimmage for us.”
    The Wildcats return to afternoon practices Monday as they prepare for the Aug. 23 scrimmage at Royse City.




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