Hawks Hold First Preseason Scrimmage

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By Adam Bagni

MONTOMGERY, Ala. ---- With only two weeks remaining before its season opener, the Huntingdon football team held its first intersquad scrimmage of the 2009 preseason on Saturday at Samford Stadium.

The Hawks actually held two scrimmages, as the returners faced off in a morning session and the newcomers took on each other in the afternoon.

“I think we did some good things on both sides of the ball, but had some chances that we did not take advantage of,” head coach Mike Turk said about the morning scrimmage. “I thought the offense was really rolling along in the early portion, but the defense showed its resiliency in the final few possessions. Overall, we have a pretty good idea of where we are and what we need to work on. We have a lot of work to do before we take the field in Maryville in two weeks.”

Several players made big plays for the Hawks on offense during the returner’s workout.

Junior Brian Watts established himself as a red zone threat catching a touchdown and coming down just out-of-bounds on another. Fellow juniors Drew Harrell and Bobby Dunlap each caught several passes that resulted in first downs on third downs, keeping possession with the offense. Sophomore Cody Pearcy also caught a touchdown pass on a deep throw.

From the running backs, senior Alex Baronich pounding out some critical yards up the middle for first downs and caught a 30-yard swing pass for a touchdown. Sophomore Parker Roberts had the longest run of the scrimmage, breaking loose for 24 yards and setting up a first-and-goal situation for the offense at the one-yard line.

Senior Chad Hatfield and junior Quinn Hambrite each made critical interceptions for the defense after the offense moved into the red zone. Junior DeAngelo Hill was also a presence, batting away three passes during the scrimmage. The defense also forced three fumbles, all of which they recovered.

“I thought the defense cashed in on every opportunity they had to force a turnover,” Turk continued. “The whole unit seemed to get locked in after the turnovers in the red zone. “

During the newcomers’ portion of the practice, freshmen quarterbacks Nick Plagenhoef and Del Franklin each led their offensive units to scoring drives, while cornerback Rashad Norton was a presence on defense, intercepting two passes and delivering the biggest hit of the scrimmage.

Freshman Austin Worley and David Solomon each hauled in touchdown receptions, while sophomore wide receiver Nico Christon and freshman running backs Trevor Manual kept the chains moving, both through the air and on the ground.

“Rashad really did some nice things and reminded me that he is going to help us,” Turk said. “I thought all three quarterbacks (Plagenhoef, Franklin and Neal Posey) made some good decisions and executed the offense well. However, just like the returning guys, we still have a long way to go.”

The Hawks will conclude camp on Sunday with a weight room session and team meetings, following a team outing to First United Methodist Church in the morning. With classes starting at Huntingdon on Monday, the Hawks will begin practicing daily at 4 p.m.

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