Leader Blues

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

SPORTS >>Falcons improve late in scrimmage

By RAY BENTON
Leader sports editor

North Pulaski got off to a bad start in its preseason football scrimmage Monday evening at Pulaski Robinson High School. Five teams were on hand and each team played one quarter against the rest, giving each team four quarters of play.
The Falcons spent their first two quarters giving the ball away. The final two quarters were much better when the team switched from its more wide open formations into a tight T and a power I formation.

“It looks like that might be what’s going to work best for us,” North Pulaski coach Tony Bohannon said. “That’s why we did what we did here. We wanted to find out a few things. The other good thing about it is we have this stuff on film now. We can show ‘em what they’re doing and get some things corrected.”

The Falcons started against England, and went three and out. The defense forced the Lions into three and out as well, but still couldn’t generate any offense. Two rushes and an incomplete pass left fourth and three at their own 26-yard line, but fullback Melvin Tenner could only get two-and-a-half yards, giving England possession at the NP 28.

It took the Class 3A contenders four plays to cover that distance for a touchdown. From that point all the way through their second quarter against Robinson, the Falcons could not hold on to the ball.

The next three, and last three of the opening scrimmage, NP possessions ended in interceptions. The defense played pretty well against England, giving up just one more first down and not allowing a score, despite England’s possessions starting deep inside Falcon territory.

That wasn’t the case against Robinson.

The Falcons started on offense. After a two-yard gain by Tenner, a bad pitch led to another turnover that the Senators covered at the NP 18.

Robinson started with a five-yard out pattern before Tenner got a sack that negated the gain and set up third and 10. An off-sides penalty made it third and five, and Robinson scored on the next play, a 13-yard rollout pass.

The Falcons fumbled again on the second play of their next drive, setting the Senators up on the NP 31.

Against the Falcons forced Robinson into third and long, but again gave up a big play. On third and seven, Robinson struck for a 28-yard touchdown strike.

The Falcons didn’t turn it over on their next possession, but did fumble again and lost 19 yards in three plays before punting.

A short punt again set Robinson up in Falcon territory at the 41. This time NP forced fourth down and three, but the Senators picked up 23 yards on fourth down, and scored on a quarterback draw on the next play to go up 21-0 with 2:52 left in the quarter.

The Falcons picked up two yards on its next drive before punting with seconds left, but Robinson still scored again, this time on a 68-yard run on the last play by Brandon Aldridge.

In the third quarter, the Falcons scrimmage Dardanelle, and did much better. They weren’t able to score, but they out-gained the Sandlizards and moved the ball effectively out of the T formation.

The first drive went 10 plays before stalling at the Dardanelle 34 after a failed halfback pass. Dardanelle got just two yards on its first two plays, but NP jumped off sides to make a third and long just third and three. Still, the Falcons tackled the Dardanelle’s quarterback for a 1-yard loss on an option keep.

The two teams traded three-and-outs a couple of times before NP finally got a couple more first downs. The Falcon defense did not give up a first down against the Sandlizards. In fact, Dardanelle had minus 4 total yards until a 4-yard gain on the last play of the scrimmage broke the team even. The Falcons gained 55 yards in the quarter.

The Falcons finished with Mills and almost got their first score. North Pulaski was on the Comet 7-yard line when time ran out in the quarter.

The biggest play of the scrimmage was a 24-yard pass from A.J. Allen to Michael Fleshman. Jeremy Flint also had a 15-yard run bulldog run up the middle in the scrimmage.

Defensively, Flint, #71 and Vinnie Osmun recorded sacks for the Falcons.

NP ran out of the Power I formation and picked up 63 total yards to 35 for Mills. That gave the team a 118 to 35 advantage in total yards over the final two quarters.