October 19, 2019

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East Ascension at Live Oak Spring Game/Scrimmage

Today’s scrimmage brought together two very athletic teams that could both possibly make deep trips into the playoffs this season. They also have history of seeing each other in the playoffs as well, as Live Oak knocked East Ascension out in 2017.

 

The game started off with a bang as East Ascension QB Cameron Jones connected with senior WR Steve McBride. The speedy receiver raced down the field for a pickup of close to 40 yards before being tackled. Senior QB Cameron Jones was once part of that receiving group before making the move to quarterback. He looked very comfortable in the pocket as well as being able to make throws on the run. Jones had an impressive pass to receiver Jyrin Johnson with three plays left in the first team rotation. The catch by Johnson was in blanket coverage and required great concentration to be caught, that caused him to somersault over backwards after making it. Two plays later the Spartans would score from the one yard line on a quarterback sneak.

Sophomore running back Kendall Washington had a very good day, not only in the run game but also in the receiving game as well, answering Live Oaks touchdown on the very next offensive possession for EA. Washington took a screen pass 80 yards for a touchdown, breaking multiple tackles on the way. “He’s a ball of energy, he’s our second leader in the weight room in the squat he squatted 500lbs and benched 255lb. and that’s just going into his sophomore season.” Coach Lee said about Washington.

I got to speak with both head coaches after the scrimmage and this is what they had to say about what they saw during the scrimmage.

Coach Lee: “I saw them fight, I saw younger guys get opportunities and make the most of it. I think our young guys are really going to have an impact on us immediately. Some of the older guys, juniors that are going to be seniors will be first time starters, starting up front offensively. We have big shoes to fill with Pule (Falepule Alo) leaving unexpectedly like that, but we moved a defensive tackle and moved him to center and you can see we have some growing pains there. Overall I felt like our kids fought, the defense got backed up Live Oak did a good job made some plays, we bend but didn’t break. I think our secondary needs to get better with tackling. Senior Jyren Ester did what we expected, he had two pick sixes. Overall we gotta get more physical and play a more physical brand of football.”

Coach Beard: “First thing, hats off to EA, I love playing these guys in the spring. We ran into them a couple of years ago in the second round of the playoffs, and they are a perennial top tier team in the state. They’re athletic, they’re long, and they do some great things. I love seeing them early to kind of see where we’re at going into the season, because you take that film with those guys, and you know what you have to clean up going into week 1. They give you such a great look, they’re so athletic, those guys in space are very scary, so in the spring game when you haven’t seen it a whole lot, they’re out in space and it’s hard to mimic that tempo and that speed, we made some mistakes. We were worried about Live Oak going into it, we really honestly looked at basic EA and what formations to get lined up to. We didn’t show them any of their run game or their RPO game, a lot of that was you know what kid, you’re new let throw you in the fire and see where you’re at, and I thought they did a great job. You know you make a play on a screen, totally different ball game. Some of those big plays they had with the RPO, you know if the kids see that, that might not be there. So I’m excited.”

Live Oak senior running back Kee Hawkins had a good day of running the ball as well. At points seeming to give the EA defense fits as it would take two sometimes three players to bring him down. He showed excellent vision and patience to the hole and a good burst to get through the line. On the defensive side of the ball for Live Oak, sophomore DB Aiden Saunders had a quality day as well, having an interception. Coach Beard stated that Saunders “has taken over, he’s a smart football player, and his leadership comes from his passion for the game. I’m really excited to see what kind of player he develops into as a sophomore, much less two years from now.”