Football jamboree challenges SenatorsPublished 9:06pm Friday, May 17, 2013
By Jonathan Bryant
The Greenville Advocate
GREENVILLE — The Fort Dale Academy-hosted football jamboree represented the end of a series of challenges presented to the Morgan Academy Senators, but it also symbolized the beginning of an entirely one.
With formalities thrown to the wayside — there were no chains, scoreboards or referees — all that remained were a 40-yard stretch and 10 offensive and defensive snaps of the ball.
After weeks of preparation both on and off the gridiron, a four-team showdown starring the Fort Dale, Monroe and Wilcox academies was vital to prepare the Senators for the speed of the game.
Morgan Academy head coach Bob Taylor said that although he was pleased with his team’s performance throughout the jamboree, there are issues that need to be addressed.
But what pleased him most was his players’ acknowledgement of their mistakes.
“I thought we got better as the day went along with our pass protection in particular, and we kind of got over the jitters of going up against somebody different,” Taylor said.
“We’ve got to correct some line problems—the little things. Those are the things you expect to happen in the spring, so we’ve got to improve on them.”
It was the Monroe Academy Volunteers that tested the defensive line the most, covering most of their first 40-yard drive in the first three runs from scrimmage.
Their smash-mouth approach to offense was one that the Senators struggled to find an answer to, though the secondary fared much better.
Pressure to the quarterback and a poor decision to throw into double coverage led to a huge interception by Patrick Haskell near the end zone late in Monroe’s 10-play drive.
But in stark contrast to the impressive performance from the Senators’ secondary, the defensive presence up front would wane throughout each of the three games.
In the final face-off against the Fort Dale Academy Eagles, the Senator front line found it difficult to get off blocks and make the plays in the trenches.
The Eagles would score five times in a combined ground and aerial assault before the Senators could respond with an endgame precision strike from quarterback Dalton Lee to his intended target for the game’s only score.
Despite this, Taylor said that he and the other coaches were largely unconcerned with the scoreboard.
Instead, his focus was on using the spring to make the changes necessary for success in the fall.
“The biggest thing we’ve done is we’ve changed our offensive philosophy, and we’re trying to fit our personnel a little bit better,” Taylor said.
“They worked hard, we had a good spring, and we played three really good football teams today, so we got our money’s worth in what we wanted to have in the spring.”