Wrapping up

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 19, 2006

Concordia Hornets look good in final srimmage of training camp

By George L. Jones

The Selma Times-Journal

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Concordia coach Shepherd Skanes didn’t have a whole lot to complain about Saturday afternoon.

After the Hornets held a high-energy scrimmage for nearly two hours on Selma High’s practice field, Skanes said he saw what he expected to see.

He even caught a couple of surprises.

“I was pleased with the freshmen production,” Skanes said. “(Backup quarterback) Anthony Gibson threw a touchdown pass on a fade route to John Halman right off the bat. We ran a controlled scrimmage and that allowed us to work on situations.”

The pass came on the first play of the second possession of the afternoon. Gibson hooked up with Halman for a long touchdown as he ran past a defensive back down the left sideline. It was his second touchdown catch of the day.

Prior to that, the first-unit offense hit paydirt on a long possession, led by quarterback Ken Johnson.

Despite dominating most of the training camp practices, the defense was on its heels almost all afternoon.

Skanes partly attributed that to practices that were loosely regulated.

“It was a little different ball game once the referees were out here,” he said. “The stripes were going to blow the whistle on everything. In practice, I saw a lot of holding, a lot of penalties. I was saying those guys were getting in the backfield a little too fast.”

It wasn’t all bad news for the defense, however. The unit forced a fumble and recovered the ball on the third possession of the scrimmage.

Return man Eric Tiller provided some head-turning plays on special teams. On three different occasions, he was one tackler away from going all the way for a touchdown.

Receiver Darius Davis also showed some flash when the ball was in his hands.

With their first game on the road Saturday vs. Belhaven College, the Hornets have a lot of work to do to decrease penalties and improve its kickoff unit.

But all things considered, they’re right where they should be.

“To be a head coach, I’m pleased with the overall system,” Skanes said. “I’m so pleased with the defense and the job of the coaches, I don’t know what to say. I have an upcoming guy in Brian Fulger that stuck his neck out there. My son, Brandon Skanes, and A.J. Ward, one of our running backs, did a good job. I saw freshmen step up and grow up today.

“This solidified the type of team I was looking forward to coming back this season.”