RICHARDSON — Scrimmages aren’t supposed to be exciting?
Or are they?
Thrilling? Heart-pounding? Hail Marys and clock-watching?
Not in a scrimmage, right?
The idea is to get the work in, play kids and make sure everyone is in the right place at the right time — a glorified practice with another team on the field. That’s the intent, but on Friday night at Richardson Eagle-Mustang Stadium, Corsicana found itself in a barnburner, complete with last-second heroics, a Hail Mary that looked more like a strike down the middle, and a tough lesson to take home after getting beaten in a one-quarter scrimmage by McKinney North, which won, 21-20, on a 27-yard TD pass from Ben Dutz to Kirvin Parks as time expired.
Still, Corsicana coach Steve Hoffman, who was screaming for the clock to start running to no avail on McKinney North’s final drive, left Richardson feeling pretty good about his team.
After all, the Tigers did win the opening format of the scrimmage when each team had three 10-play series in which to score. Corsicana ran away (literally) from McKinney North under that format, scoring twice and holding McKinney North scoreless and limiting the Bulldogs to just 102 yards of total offense for the 30 plays.
“We scored five touchdowns and they scored three,’’ Hoffman said, adding the two formats together. “I’m real happy with our offense. They couldn’t stop us. We stopped ourselves. We could have scored 50 points.’’
The Tigers did look unstoppable for most of the night, including a dramatic 55-yard drive in the final minutes that looked as if it would seal the win in the live-quarter game. Trailing 15-14, Corsicana zipped down the field and covered 55 yards in just four plays — and only 29 seconds.
Quarterback Devontay Bell ripped off a 13-yard run, and then Donovan Fields took over, breaking free for a 22-yard run to the 20, before racing 10 more to the 10 and scoring on a 10-yard run over the right side. He gained 42 yards on three carries to lift the Tigers to a 20-15 lead. A two-point conversion failed, but with 53 seconds left, Corsicana had the lead.
It wasn’t enough as McKinney North had just enough time to score one final touchdown.
“We scored too fast,’’ Hoffman said afterward.
The Tigers do score quickly. Their offense does just about everything quickly, running out of a no-huddle shotgun all the time..
They scored fast in the 10-play format as Bell threw a 9-yard TD pass to Lakeem Christmas to complete a quick-hit 70-yard drive that opened the scrimmge. Christmas made a one-handed catch in the end zone, and Fields scored on a one-play drive when he bounced free and raced 70 yards for a TD. He made a brilliant move in the open field with a stop-and-go shuffle at the 20, waiting on a block to take care of the last defender. Receiver Hector Calvillo provided the key block with a highlight tape play.
Tray Owens had his moments in the 10-play series format, rushing for 96 yards on eight carries. He had two more carries worth more than 40 yards wiped out by penalties. He added 31 more rushing yards in the live-quarter scrimmage.
Bell had his moments in the live-quarter format, rushing for 50 yards on three carries, including an 18-yard TD run. He completed three of his first four passes for 44 yards before throwing an interception late in the quarter.
Corsicana drove 81 yards in seven plays on its first possession as Bell completed his first three passes, including the final two of the drive. He connected with Rhett Holcolmb, a sophomore, for a 16-yard strike to the McKinney North 24, and then hit Donair Martin on the left side for a 23-yard gain to just outside the goal line. Fields scored on a 1-yard run on the next play. Fields gained 70 yards in the 10-play format, and ran for 48 yards on five carries in the live-quarter format.
The Tigers offense dominated the night, but the defense gave up too many big plays. Ronald Jones did most of the damage. He covered 70 yards in two plays, scoring on a 48-yard TD run, and then scored on a 5-yard TD run on a fourth-and-3 play. He finished the live-quarter game with 94 yards on six carries.
Corsicana’s defense had its moments linemen. Tiano McDonald, Donovan Hailey and Darius Watson were all in on two sacks, sharing the load, and McDonald came up with what was almost the game-clinching play when — with about 20 seconds left — he hit Jones for a loss in the backfield and created a fumble. But Dutz picked up the loose ball and scrambled for a 4-yard gain to keep the drive alive.
“We just have to get better defensively,’’ said Hoffman, who has said all along that his defense is behind his offense. He took the job in April and had to play catch up, and his first priority was to teach the Tigers their new offense.
“I was pleased with the offense, but we’ve got to play better defense,’’ he said. “We’re going to get better. This was good for us.’’