Sam Houston State head football coach K.C. Keeler’s first real spring game ended a success this past Friday at the annual Orange vs. White game this past Friday at Bowers Stadium.
The “Past, present, and the future” game, coined by Keeler, featured trials of multiple plays and formations.
“We’ve improved so much since the end of last season,” Keeler said. “I really feel good about this group and the kids feel good about themselves. Tonight was only the third time we’ve hit in full pads, so we missed a few tackles, but overall it was a great night.”
The main competition was the battle of the quarterbacks. Juniors Jared Johnson, Don King III and sophomore transfer Jeremiah Briscoe all competed with offenses that were ran based on the quarterbacks’ play style.
Johnson started the game for the white team with senior running back Donovan Williams. Johnson’s surgery limited his playing time throughout the game, but he saw success in his snaps.
Williams looked like the true starting running back by catching screens, making plays after the catch and also breaking enough tackles to fight for extra yards. He looks to fill in the hole for graduated senior Keshawn Hill.
After Johnson’s series at quarterback, King received playing time and the offense was in his favor behind the center. King showed his skills moving around the pocket and ability to scramble for the first down. Read options and running back screens were called for King during the game.
All eyes then turned to Briscoe, a transfer poised to make a run to get the start in the Kats’ season opener against Texas Tech. Briscoe looked sharped during warm-ups and it transferred over to the game scoring the first touchdown for the white team.
Short throws with slant patterns and post plays were in the package for Briscoe. The accuracy was on point for Briscoe, and the true pocket passer impressed SHSU alumni with the confidence that was shown. His best completion was a 31-yard pass to receiver LaDarius Brown.
The high-scoring performance from both teams displayed good offense but still there are questions to be answered on the defensive side of the ball. Sophomore defensive end P.J Hall continued his dominance to lead his Kats’ defense, who missed some players in Friday’s scrimmage.
“Every team is different and, with this group, we didn’t need to hit quite so much. We wanted to work on fundamentals and avoid injuries,” Keeler said. “We’ve got a lot of conditioning work with Coach (Brian) Hess in the weight room to get bigger and stronger. But, if we can play clean and stay healthy, this team is going to win some football games next fall.”
Some things the Kats can take from the spring game are cleaning up on the penalties. There were numerous holding and pass interference flags called on both teams.
The White team ended the game with the win 52-48. The Kats’ season opener is Sept. 5 to the Red Raiders in Lubbock.