Showing Improvement: Wildcats put it together against Terrell in live situation

By BOBBY "BUTCH" BURNEY | News-Telegram Sports Editor

Aug. 26, 2007 - The Sulphur Springs Wildcats looked better and better as their scrimmage with Terrell wore on Friday night.

Head coach Greg Owens is looking for improvement to carry over into next week's season opener.

Terrell outscored the Wildcats two touchdowns to none in the series portion of the scrimmage at Gerald Prim Stadium, but Sulphur Springs punched the ball across once in the goal line situation and then won the live half, 20-14.

Of Terrell's four touchdowns in the evening, only one of them came against the Wildcats' starting defense.

"I think the defense played well all night. The twos gave up some big plays, and we can't have that," Owens said. "Terrell has some great speed to go deep and go get it.

"I was proud of the defense. Third down stops were great, it looked like."

The Wildcats held Terrell to just 3-of-9 on third down conversions, and two of those came on SSHS penalties.

Middle linebacker Josh Dunn was in on seemingly every tackle, cornerback Darrell Franklin and linebacker Dillon Verner each came up with interceptions, and defensive linemen Tyler Francis and Jamal Freeman both had solid games.

Meanwhile, the Wildcat offense - which Owens wanted to see execute more efficiently than last week - scored on three of its four possessions in the live half.

Junior quarterback Tyrick Rollison completed 11-of-18 passes for 155 yards and three touchdowns: a 29-yard fade to DaQualin "Boo" Evans, a 4-yard crossing route to Chris Thompson, and a 41-yard bomb to Jace Jackson, who got behind the defense on the visitors' sideline.

Rollison's back-ups, Johnny McSheffery and Cedric Finnie, went 4-for-4 for 25 yards.

Senior Brittan Diamond, staring at linebacker and running back, caught four passes for 39 yards, with three of the receptions going for first downs.

In the series portion of the scrimmage, the Wildcats moved the ball but had one drive end on a sack and another on a fumble.

"It was kind of like practice this week the way it started," said Owens, who called two practices "lackluster." " We kind of walked through some things there, but once we got into game speed, I liked the way the kids executed things.

"Offensively, our execution was a little bit smoother, a little bit better, and we made some plays at the end of the half that were pretty good."

He said the pace of the Wildcat offense, which can speed up its no-huddle tempo, suits a game situation better than a pure scrimmage.

"I think it's an emotional thing. When you go 15 straight plays, in the kids' minds, they're thinking about 15 straight plays," Owens said. "The mindset is different.

"The offensive line likes our Nascar, our fast-paced offense, because it kind of gets the D-linemen tired a little bit. The game, the half, kind of feeds our pace. "

He was pleased with the snapping of sophomore center Colby Suggs, and liked the way the offensive line responded to an athletic Terrell defense.

"We're still light in the britches in spots and not as strong as we want to be, but I think the offensive tempo helps us," Owens said. "We were better this week, but maybe we need to chop some more dummies.

"This film from today will be good for them. They'll see it and be able to learn from it. Every game and every week we're getting better."

Defensively, the Wildcats have been very good.

Terrell scored once against the Wildcats starting offense in the series portion of the scrimmage. A receiver caught a slant pass and went 76 yards for a TD when a defensive back busted an assignment. All of Terrell's other TDs came against mostly Sulphur Springs back-ups.

"Overall, it was a good effort," Owens said. "We still did a few things that we have to correct. But, it was better."

The Wildcats open the season at home Friday against McKinney. Kick-off is set for 7:30 p.m.

JUNIOR VARSITY

Terrell outscored the SSHS JV, two touchdowns to one. The Wildcat score came on a quarterback keeper by Sawyer Sinclair.

Other offensive standouts were quarterback Colton Lee and running back Devon Hill (a sophomore transfer form Paul Pewitt).

Defensively, linebacker Jacko Spataro played well before suffering a concussion, and safety Triston Abron was a standout.

FRESHMEN

SSHS outscored Terrell five touchdowns to three, with the Tigers pushing across two TDs in the final series.

Wildcat quarterback Tripp Reeves threw for two touchdowns, one on a 28-yard screen pass to Joe Scott and the other on a 6-yard pass to Sharrod Timmons.

"Tripp threw the ball well and made good decisions," said freshmen head coach Jerrod Hammack. "Jared Riley stood out on defense."

Other TDs came on Scott's 2-yard run, a 10-yard run by K.C. Macon and a 7-yard pass from Riley to Dallin Sant.

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