Trying to measure just how far Hal Wasson's Tiger football team has come in three weeks of spring drills is kind of like trying to figure just how high Quay Chambers got off the ground Thursday night when he made an amazing, leaping catch on a 20-yard pass from Drew Denbow in Corsicana's Spring Game.
You could see Chambers reach for the sky and the ball at the same moment, and when he made the high-flying grab, snatching the ball and your breath out of the air at the same instant, you really didn't need a yardstick --or care to find out exactly how high he was in the air.
You knew it was a great catch, and that was more than enough information.
What you were really thinking was: "I can't wait to see the Tigers make a play like that on a Friday night next fall."
That anecdote may be the best way to describe what happened Thursday night at Tiger Stadium when the Tigers held their Blue-Gold Spring Game under the lights.
Corsicana got its first look at Wasson's kids, and the coaches got their best look at a team that has been growing day by day.
Everyone liked what they saw.
The best thing about the Spring Game?
"Just getting out here and seeing the kids compete," said Wasson after the game. "We really had a good spring."
Wasson loves to compete. He loves the word, the feeling and everything about the energy it brings.
That energy was there all spring. The kids were loud, the hitting was hard and the drive to improve was in every huddle, every drill -- every day.
"'We improved significantly this spring," Wasson said this week.
It showed Thursday. If you wanted a quick overview it was this: The defense swarmed, and the offense showed it has big-play potential.
Tyler Farmer led a defense that appears to have more speed than a year ago, and more than a half dozen running backs had a chance to carry the ball with all-district linebacker Eric Dickson breaking off two big runs on back-to-back plays worth 27 yards in a new role, and Creashaud Means busted free for a 23-run touchdown run that was the offensive line's best moment of the night.
The OL was led by Kyleon Chambers, Verson Davis and Juan Andrade, who have all had strong springs. The defense's big moment came when Damarya Baxter intercepted a pass.
One of the biggest questions about these Tigers was simple enough: How do you replace a quarterback who put the team on his back in the middle of his sophomore year when the Tigers were struggling and led them to the playoffs for three straight years, setting a record for total career yardage and losing only three district games over that stretch?
Blake Hoffman is graduating next week, but the Tigers have found their quarterback.
After spending the last two seasons as an All-District and All-Golden Circle wide receiver, Drew Denbow has made the move to the pocket, where he fits with a seamless and natural transition and gives Wasson the kind of born-to-be-a-leader mentality and football savvy needed to make this team his.
Denbow had the look and feel of a seasoned QB Thursday, and after only 21 days of spring drills he brings a confidence and the promise of potential to this new team and new offense that could be priceless.
Even with Spring Game rules that prohibited the quarterbacks from scrambling, Denbow managed to move the ball and made some impressive passes.
"Our receivers are young and have to get acclimated," Wasson said. "But we did some good things and Drew made that big play to Quay, who made a great catch. The thing is we didn't even use Drew's biggest asset tonight, which is his ability to run the football." .
That phase of the Tigers offense, like so many other wrinkles that Wasson wants to add to make this team a fast-paced, uptempo machine, is coming later.
"We want an offense where we are cruising at 75 mph on Interstate 45," Wasson said before spring drills began. "We've got to drive about 45 and 55 and build up to that."
One of the best messages after the game came from Zac Bryant, the Tigers energetic and electric new offensive coordinator and offensive line coach, who gathered his kids together and told them how far they had come and how proud he was of their progress.
"We've had a real good spring," he said. "And now we have to be ready for the next thing -- Now comes expectations!"
Those are coming and will be here long before the Tigers kick off on opening night Aug. 30 against Burleson Centennial, the very team that knocked them out of the playoffs last year.
There's a summer of voluntary weight lifting and conditioning ahead as well as a 7-on-7 league in which the Tigers will play every Tuesday night in June -- and of course there's preseason practice, which begins Aug. 12.
All of that and more is ahead for the Tigers, who put spring practice behind them with the game Thursday.
"We did some good things," said Wasson, who moved the Spring Game to a night game and encouraged fans to come see his team.
They liked what they saw.
"We had a great spring crowd," Wasson said. "We really appreciated that."