Leader Blues

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

SPORTS>> Red Devils put on show

By JASON KING
Leader sportswriter

What Red Devil coach Mark Whatley described as Jacksonville High School’s night of “football and hamburgers,” satisfied fans’ pallets on both fronts Saturday night at Jan Crow Stadium.

The annual intramural Red-White night kicked off with scrimmages by the eighth and ninth grade teams, followed by the varsity team. The varsity scrimmaged in four series before the junior and senior high volleyball teams were introduced to the crowd during an intermission.

Local financial institutions also put on an exhibition flag football game before the varsity Devils took to the field one more time, and an impressive fireworks display closed out the event.

The fireworks for the Red Devils started in the first series from scrimmage with a pair of runs by Patrick Geans. Geans carried five times during the first scrimmage for the red team, picking up 26 total yards. His biggest gainer came on the second series with a 12-yard pickup.

Sophomore quarterback Logan Perry looked impressive in his first snaps also. The underclassman showed poise in the pocket, completing 9 of 10 pass attempts for 142 yards and two touchdowns during two drives.

He made most of his completions on slant passes to either side, but also looked solid on the deep ball, first hitting Demetris Harris on a 48-yard bomb to score on the first drive for the Red team. He found fellow sophomore John Johnson on the left side for a 27-yard touchdown pass on the following drive, although Johnson made up the biggest part of those yards on the ground after the reception.

“The biggest thing is, we got out of here healthy,” Whatley said. “This is a football team that will have a chance to get better and better every time they take to the field. We had a lot of youth out there, especially when you look and see six or even offense move the ball during the seven sophomores on the defensive side.”

Terrell Brown also took snaps on Saturday. He played sparingly at quarterback during the first scrimmage, but helped the White team econd scrimmage. The White team threatened to score a couple of times, but interceptions — one by Harris — ended promising drives.

Overall, Whatley was pleased with the effort, but said he wants to see more pads cracking on the offensive side.

“We’re going to have to get more physical offensively,” Whatley said. “We need to block until the whistle blows. I thought (Perry) got rid of it well, and did a good job of getting out of a couple of jams.

“Patrick didn’t get loose the way we thought he might. He had some tough running there on the inside. He had to wade through a lot of people tonight.”

The freshmen scrimmage was all Red team in a 24-0 decision earlier in the evening. Highlights included an interception and return back to the 1-yard line by Martell Cooper, which was followed by a touchdown pass reception by Demetry Jones moments later.

The Red Devils will open their season on Sept. 2 when they host Cabot for the much-anticipated Backyard Brawl.