Leader Blues

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

SPORTS >>SH snaps into form in second

By JASON KING
Leader sportswriter

Sylvan Hills took the next step towards the 2007 season with the annual blue-white scrimmage at Bill Blackwood Field Friday night. Two twenty-minute halves gave the varsity squad its first opportunity to showcase their talents in front of parents and students.

The scrimmage had its share of highlights on both sides of the ball, with a strong defensive showing in the first half, followed by a number of successful offensive drives in the second half. The bugs on the offensive side were evident in the first 20 minutes, particularly with snaps. A number of miscues between the senior quarterbacks and three different SH centers hampered offensive progress on the first two drives.

While a large portion of the hype on the hillside has been over returning senior QB Hunter Miller, it was the underclassmen that would end up shining from the backfield on Friday. Lawrence Hodges accounted for most of the offensive flair in the first half before sophomore Julian Brawner stepped in with some incredible runs in the second half, including a 68-yard touchdown run in the final five minutes.

“It was good and bad,” Sylvan Hills coach Jim Withrow said. “I was a little disappointed in our execution, but I think our defense is playing better and better. The nerves of being under the lights for the first time sucked the wind out of us a little bit. On the whole, I was happy with our effort.”

Miller’s performance may not have been the wide-open thriller the SH faithful had hoped for, but his maturity on the field took precedent over stats. Miller recovered from a series of bad snaps in the first two drives to prevent turnovers, and his few passes were made carefully, putting the ball in routes that could not be intercepted.

While not a strict scrimmage, the varsity blue-white was essentially a two-a-days practice in game jerseys and in front of spectators. The blue team served as offense, and the white team was the all-time defensive unit. Members of the defense donned yellow smocks in the second half when they crossed the line of scrimmage to try their offensive hands.

One of those players, senior linebacker Chris Daulton, came away with a score when he ran in a 68-yard touchdown player from the fullback slot. The sophomore Brawner came away with the other big offensive play of the game moments later with a 70-yard run up the middle. Brawner’s speed and ability to move under the defense was impressive, and warranted the praise of Withrow afterward.

While there was not a tremendous amount of passing, Deonte Davis looked best of the receivers. Davis was the target of several slant patterns, along with Hodges. Among notable defensive performances was Nick? Zimmerman, who broke up a number of plays for the white squad, and pulled down an interception in the second half.

The first half was not without its offensive moments, as both Hodge and Miller capped off lengthy drives with short-distance runs for scores. The gains were short for the most part in the first 20 minutes, but in Miller’s defense, some of the misdirection-style plays in the first half imploded at the line, as if the defense was a little too familiar with what was coming at them.

The Bears had their first test of outside competition last night in a jamboree scrimmage against Hall, Parkview, and ?? Look for details of those games in the Saturday edition of The Leader.