Leader Blues

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

SPORTS >>Falcons learn from tough outing

By RAY BENTON
Leader sports editor

North Pulaski traveled to Mills Monday night to take part in a four-team scrimmage with the Comets, Pulaski Robinson and Sheridan. They didn’t fare too well, but there were some things to build upon.

The scrimmage was played on the outer edge of the massive storm that blew through central and north Arkansas Monday night, but the lightning had a rival in Mills’ tailback Antonio Smith. Smith was almost untouchable. He scampered for 100 yards and a touchdown on just six carries in his half against the Falcons. He was almost as good against Sheridan, piling up 83 yards on eight carries against the 6A Yellowjackets.

The Falcons played a half against Joe T. and a half against Mills, and the combined score was 41-16. North Pulaski’s two touchdowns came in the second quarter against Mills when sophomore quarterback Stanley Appleby scored on two rollouts.
Appleby’s first touchdown was on a called quarterback keeper. The 5-foot, 7-inch 10th grader followed his pulling guard Jimmy Mecalo around the left side and broke free for a 49-yard touchdown run. He was sprung by a great block outside the left end by wide receiver Sean Spades that cleared the corner for him. After rounding the corner, Appleby outran three Mills secondary players over the final 30 yards.

The second score was a rollout pass in which Appleby tucked and ran when he saw clear sailing for 23 yards and the score.
He dodged one blocker near the sideline, and ran into the end zone untouched for the score. The worst news of the evening wasn’t the points allowed, it was the injury to senior lineman Jeffrey Bogard. Bogard went down in the first quarter of the first scrimmage against Robinson. He sat out the rest of the scrimmage, with a twisted ankle, but could be back as early as the Falcons’ season opener against Dumas at home on Sept. 1.

Mills and Robinson ran well against the Falcons’ defense, but the red-zone D was good. Most of Mills’ scores came on long plays. Three times the Falcons forced turnovers when the opponent got close to the goal line. They forced a fumble by Robinson and intercepted two passes in the end zone against Mills. Shawn Rase got the first pick for the Falcons. The second was by senior Shoin Hand.

The offense stalled on most drives. The Falcons did not get a first down against Robinson, who is expected to beat out Pulaski Academy for the AAAA-Southwest Conference championship, and compete for a state title. They failed to earn a first down in their first two possessions against Mills before finally getting a few things clicking offensviely. Senior Charles Baker, who will be the team’s workhorse at running back this season, totaled negative yardage on the night, finding no running room and meeting defenders in the backfield.