Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

August 23, 2013

GC Football: Tigers look sluggish in scrimmage

Mike Phillips
Corsicana Daily Sun

Mansfield — MANSFIELD — Some folks are morning people.

You know, they’re up at the crack of dawn going full-speed into the day.

They’re morning folks.

The Corsicana Tigers are not.

That was more than evident Friday morning in Mansfield, where the Tigers played their final scrimmage of the preseason against Mansfield Legacy. Maybe another shot of orange juice or some glazed donuts would have helped — maybe even a bowl or two of those sugar-loaded Frosted Flakes. But for whatever reason the Tigers (the football ones, not the one on the cereal box) didn’t look or play like the kids who have been working out all month to get ready for opening night.

By the way, opening night is a few days away.

That’s right, Denton Ryan will show up on Friday night to open the season in Tiger Stadium against the Tigers, who looked slow and sluggish in their scrimmage Friday. It really wasn’t even a scrimmage. The plan was to play two quarters of football in the tuneup, but Legacy’s officials didn’t show up so the two teams just ran a series of plays against each other.

It was more like a glorified practice than a scrimmage, but Corsicana left feeling the heat of the day and the heat of the countdown to opening night.

“I’m disappointed,’’ Corsicana coach Steve Hoffman said. “We just weren’t ready to play. We didn’t come out...”

They didn’t.

Corsicana’s prolific offense that looked unstoppable a week earlier under the lights against McKinney North, sputtered and stopped itself all morning. The Tigers were beat on the line of scrimmage and the passing game didn’t have the sharpness it had displayed in an intrasquad scrimmage two weeks ago and against McKinney North. The first team offense was held scoreless in the 10-play series format (each team had 10 plays, starting from its 30).

Corsicana’s first team had three 10-play series, and after scoring five TDS (two in a 10-play series format and three more in one live quarter) against McKinney North, the Tigers could only manage a handful of first downs against Legacy.

Tray Owens did rip off a 35-yard run and the Tigers marched to the Legacy 30 on their second series, but the drive ended with an incompletion in the end zone. On the final series, quarterback Devontay Bell completed his first three passes, but the drive ended at midfield.

Hoffman didn’t run a full package and most of the play-calling was toned down.

“We didn’t do a lot of things. We kind of stayed vanilla,’’ Hoffman said. ‘But I was still disappointed. We just didn’t compete very well. They have to realize they have to be ready to play.’’

Corsicana’s defense was burned on big plays, and gave up five touchdowns — on three long runs of 64, 55 and 65 yards, and two on TD passes of 46 and 25 yards. The defense also came up with two interceptions. Donavan Fields had a pick inside the Legacy 35 and Nick Terry had an interception inside the 40. In a real game scenario those would have set up short-drive situations. And Corsicana did come up with four plays for losses, including a highlight tape tackle by linebacker Bobby Lopez who threw Legacy for a 4-yard loss.

Still, the big plays are becoming a growing concern.

“Our defense in spots played a lot better,’’ Hoffman said. “But you can’t give up the big play.’’

Fields, a senior who also played at running back Friday, said the scrimmage would help.

“It’s a wakeup call,’’ he said. “We’ve got to play better and we know it. We’ve got a week to get ready for Denton Ryan. It’s going to be a hard week of practice. It’s on the seniors to make sure we get ready.’’

Bell didn’t call it a wakeup call, but agreed with Fields that Corsicana would be ready for opening night.

“I’m just disappointed,’’ Bell said. “You want to win. I always want to win, and I’m just disappointed about the way we played.’’

Hoffman came away from the scrimmage, looking forward to the season.

“We’re healthy,’’ he said. “And we’re 0-0. We know we’ve got to get better. We’ve got a lot of work to do, but were going to get better.’’

Oh one more thing...Hoffman probably won’t be scheduling any more morning scrimmages.