If Saturday’s scrimmage at the Stetson University Athletics Training Center was any indication, fans planning to attend the Homecoming scrimmage in two weeks are in for quite a show.
The Hatters played four quarters divided into opposing teams like they will be for Homecoming. The result was a 39-36 shootout that wasn’t decided until the ball hit the turf of the final play of the day.
“I was surprised because I didn’t think there would be much scoring with the way we were turning it over early,” Stetson coach Roger Hughes said. “Overall, I was very pleased. This is the first time we have gone a full game, and I thought the mechanics went well. There weren’t many penalties.”
The White squad appeared to have the game well in hand early in the third quarter after scoring a pair of quick touchdowns to take a 33-14 lead. But the Green team came roaring right back, having their backs literally against the wall before Ryan Tentler (Chicago, Ill.) connected withj Kegan Moore (Marietta, Ga.) for a 96-yard TD pass.
That played turned the momentum. The Green team scored on its next three possessions, taking a 36-33 lead with 2:01 left to play on a 38-yard field goal by Eric Fogle.
The White team, however, had one more drive left, needing just four plays to go 75 yards for the winning points. After Jonathan Jerozal (Canyon County, Calif.) hooked up with Zach Dyer (Tampa, Fla.) for a 12-yard gain on first down, the Green squad was hit with a penalty for a late hit on the QB to move the ball across the 50.
Back-to-back incomplete passes brought up a third down with the clock ticking toward a minute left. Jerozal flipped the ball out into the left flat to running back Meyrick Lamb (Marion Heights, Pa.) who took off on a weaving, tackle-breaking run of 48 yards for the winning touchdown with 52 seconds left.
The Green team had one last gasp, but Tentler’s “Hail Mary” pass into the end zone on the final play was knocked to the ground.
“I have to give credit to both teams because the kids kept fighting back,” Hughes said. “We haven’t been playing any outside competition, but these kids have stayed focused. You could see the energy out there today. I hope that we can keep that going for the next two weeks going into the Homecoming scrimmage.”
One thing the performance of the Green team in the second half insured was that the two squads would likely remain the same for the Homecoming scrimmage in two weeks.
“I was wondering if we might need to make some trades between the teams to keep the equal, but from the looks of things today I’d say they are pretty equal,” Hughed said.
Individually there were some solid performances on both sides of the ball. For the White team, Jerozal was impressive, throwing for three touchdowns while completing 7-of-14 passes for 166 yards and no interceptions. Combined, the four quarterbacks for the White team completed 23-of-37 passes for 320 yards with the three Jerozal touchdowns and three interceptions.
Lamb, who had the clinching TD reception, also ran for a 27-yard score. He had 63 yards on five carries while Joey Rizzo (Plantation, Fla.) ran for 74 yards on seven carries, including a 28-yard scoring run. The White team finished with 174 rushing yards on 30 attempts.
Ryan Selimos (Plantation, Fla.) was the standout receiver, piling up 142 yards on eight receptions, scoring on an eight-yard pass from Jerozal in the second quarter.
On defense, the White team was led by Matt Mines (Winter Park, Fla.) with six tackles, Patrick Watson (Elmira, NY) with five and Andreis Norris (Boca Raton, Fla.) with four. Chris Atkins (Jacksonville, Fla.) recorded a pair of interceptions, one of which he returned for a three-yard touchdown, Dylan Wydronkowski (Glenville, NY) had a pick of his own.
Offensively for the Green team, Tentler completed 7-of-15 passes for 165 yards with one interception and the one long TD pass. A.J. Washington (Beech Island, SC) was the leading rusher in the game, gaining 90 yards on 17 attempts. Jerami Singleton (Clermont, Fla.) also ran the ball well, gaining 76 yards on 11 carries. He scored the first points of the day for his squad on a 16-yard run.
Donald Payne (Fayetteville, Ga.) and Ryan Powers (Jupiter, Fla.) led the Green team with five tackles each. Payne’s total included a sack. Dylan Rutledge (New Port Richey, Fla.) had four tackles, including a sack, and Chase Coleman (Alpharetta, Ga.) added four tackles with a pass breakup.
“We had some great catches by the wideouts,” Hughes said. “They made some circus catches. Donald Payne stood out because he is an outstanding player. Ignacio Madrid played well and had some big hits and, overall I thought the offensive line played well.
“Myrick Lamb had a couple of great runs and Andre Washington, for his first scrimmage, played pretty well. Overall I thought it was great improvement across the board.”
With two weeks before the big scrimmage of the fall, Hughes said there may be time to add some new things.
“We’ll look at the film and make some corrections from this,” Hughes said. “We have about eight practices, so we might try to add a little bit, but also continue to polish and get better at what we do. We may add a couple of new formations or a couple of new blitzes but, if this is any indication, we are going to have a good Homecoming scrimmage.”
Scoring By Quarter
||Chris Atkins 3-yard interception return
||James LaGamma kick
||Jerami Singleton 16-yard run
||Eric Fogle kick
||Justin Reynolds 11-yard pass from Jonathan Jerozal
||Ryan Selimos 8-yard pass from Jerozal
||Ryan Tentler 6-yard run
||Meyrick Lamb 27-yard run
||Joey Rizzo 28-yard run
||Kegan Moore 96-yard pass from Tentler
||Alex Marsh 1-yard run
||Ryan Powers 15-yard interception return
||Fogle 38-yard field goal
||Lamb 48-yard pass from Jerozal