May 22—First things first. You don’t really appreciate a spring game until you’ve missed one.
COVID-19 took care of that for Hilldale last year, so Hornets coach David Blevins was more than happy to get that event back Friday night at Hornet Field.
“At least we got to do it,” said Blevins after a 20-13 White win sandwiched in the middle of spring workouts. “We got three practices in and this, now we’ll go watch film on Monday and get back to work.”
The squads were divided relatively equal, although in hindsight Blevins saw a Red team with a few more skill guys and a White team with two of last year’s standouts in running back Eric Virgil, who also played linebacker, and Brayson Lawson at wide receiver and safety.
The Red had, at least on this night, the more efficient quarterback.
Caynen David directed two touchdown drives, both in the first 20-minute session. The first was set up by a fumble recovery by Aden Jenkins. David was 4-of-4 on the drive, hitting Jace Walker twice for 30 yards, and then scored himself on a 3-yard keeper. That combination would work twice more for 23 yards.
After a White three-and-out, David went to work again, this time relying more on the running and receiving of Isom Smith. Smith had two receptions of 22 yards and four runs, the last one from three yards out.
Jaxson Whittiker’s extra point made it 13-0.
The third Red possession, coming in the second 20-minute session following a “halftime” break, was a three-and-out, sparked by a 6-yard sack of David by Wyatt Branscum and a 6-yard tackle for loss of David by Virgil. The White continued to struggle, with the Red’s Logan Harper coming up with a tackle of White quarterback Michael Oeser for a loss of 8 then Walker and Lamarion Burton breaking up a deep toss to Lawson.
“Caynen had a good night,” Blevins said. “The thing is he moved well in the pocket, and when we put our whole offensive line together — the Red team had three starters and the White two — we’ll be able to see a lot more of what we can do.”
The last session, lasting 15 minutes, saw mostly JV players. Jaxx Kerr connected with Hayden Pickering on a 50-yard catch-and-run. Later, Mason Fornhan’s 13-yard scoop-and-score on a fumble with Kerr’s two-point toss to Pickering put the White up 14-13.
Gage Rowland’s 17-yard TD for the White made it 20-13.
“We got a little lackadaisical holding on to the football there,” Blevins said. “But I really liked how we came out wanting to hit. They were all flying around and did a good job.
“Isom ran the ball well and I thought Lamarion had a good night. And really, we didn’t have too many missed tackles which is unusual for a spring game. It showed our kids weren’t scared of making contact.”
Hilldale will conclude spring work next week then head into a team camp at Verdigris on Thursday and Friday with Verdigris, Beggs, Catoosa, Sallisaw, Pryor and Kiefer.