SPRINGFIELD – Springfield’s spring football scrimmage with Kenner Discovery didn’t end the way the Bulldogs would have liked, but in the grand scheme of things, coach Ryan Serpas couldn’t overlook some of the things his team accomplished.
Kenner Discovery scored three unanswered touchdowns in the scrimmage’s final 10-minute timed period to take an 18-12 lead then forced a fumble on the final play of the night.
“There were a lot of good things tonight, but the bad things came in a bunch at the very end,” Serpas said. “That was more of a momentum shifter, and our kids just kind of started hanging their heads and didn’t know how to respond. That’s things that we’ve got to try to create and make them more mentally tough and make them realize that they’re capable of shutting it down at any moment, but their body language is giving the other teams momentum.”
Kenner Discovery trailed 12-0 but got a 22-yard touchdown pass from Kristian Kraft to Labyran Martin and a 44-yard TD pass from Kraft to Robert James to tie the score.
“I didn’t play it like a game situation in my eyes,” Serpas said of the later portion of the scrimmage. “I know they (Kenner Discovery) were excited and happy they were doing good things, but I’ve got things I’m still trying to work on, so we tried to keep the uptempo and keep things going so that we could get that work. Unfortunately, we just made a lot of mistakes in a short period of time, and they were able to capitalize.”
A personal foul call against the Bulldogs backed them up to their own 15. Two plays later, Nilan Pinestraw fumbled, and Jones recovered, setting up Kraft’s 15-yard YD pass to Larenz Williams.
“That was like a fourth quarter, and we didn’t execute in the home stretch,” Springfield’s Bradlyn McKay said.
Serpas said the Bulldogs also have to improve their play in the secondary.
“Our secondary has definitely been one of our Achilles’ heels the last two years, and so if we don’t improve there, we’re not going to improve as a team,” he said.
Springfield came back as Bryan Babb hit Pinestraw on a 30-yard pass, and Arshun Andrews busted a 16-yard run to the Kenner Discovery 8-yard line.
Two plays later, Babb connected with Pinestraw on a 5-yard TD pass that appeared to knot the score with 33 seconds to play, but offsetting personal foul calls negated the play.
Andrews carried to the 1 and Babb threw an incomplete pass before Andrews ran again and lost a fumble on the final play.
“I just gave it off, and the defense dominated through the middle and got past us,” Babb said of the play. “I tried to pick it (fumble) up, but somebody else hit it out of my hands. I couldn’t do anything about it. We’re going to learn from every mistake that we make and get better from it.”
The Bulldogs took the lead in the timed periods as McKay scored on a 5-yard run, capping a nine-play, 70-yard drive. Andrews carried three times for 41 yards on the drive.
After Springfield held Kenner Discovery on downs, McKay busted a 54-yard TD run on the fourth play of the ensuing drive.
“We’re capable of doing a lot,” McKay said. “It’s just we have to be able to come out in practice, execute at practice and bring on to the game with a good attitude and hard effort.”
The end of the scrimmage was in stark contrast to the early going for the Bulldogs, who got interceptions from Bradlyn McKay and Pinestraw on Kenner Discovery’s first 10-play series. Jordan Teague had another interception for the Bulldogs.
Springfield moved the ball well, mixing the run and pass, but didn’t find the end zone until the second-teamers took over at their own 50. Pinestraw busted a 21-yard run on the fourth play of the drive, setting up a 36-yard TD pass from Babb to David Givens.
“It’s really good,” Babb said of being able to mix things up on offense. “I’m able to read the defense, and I can choose and pick what to do, and it gives us more options rather than to do one thing.”
On the next play, Tylan Armstrong busted loose for a 55-yard TD run down the left sideline.
“There were a lot of good things,” Serpas said. “The offensive line, even though they (Kenner Discovery) blitzed every play, they were able to create holes for Arshun to run trough. (There were) definitely not a lot of negatives as far as the scheme of football is concerned. It’s more of the body language thing and the way we carry ourselves that we’ve got to improve.”
The scoring slowed until the second-teamers took over at the 50 for another series, and Jaden Morris broke a 20-yard run over the right side, setting up a 26-yard TD pass from Babb to Givens.
Morris recovered a fumble to stop the next Kenner Discovery drive, but the Swamp Owls got their first touchdown of the when Kraft found Axel Varela on a 14-yard TD pass on fourth down during the portion of the scrimmage where each team got four plays from the opponents’ 10-yard line.
Andrews scored on a 5-yard run on the Bulldogs’ possession during the same part of the scrimmage.
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