CARTHAGE -- Class 3A's preseason No. 1 team opened the first day of full-pads practice with their annual installment of "Blood Alley."

Carthage started the morning with the one-on-one drill that features a ball carrier running a three-level gauntlet: an offensive lineman vs. a defensive lineman, a back/tight end vs. a linebacker, and a receiver vs. a defensive back. (Scroll below the story to see a Vine clip.)

Carthage players compete in the "Blood Alley" drill at Friday morning's practice. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)

The drill gives coach Scott Surratt and his staff a good look at who will play the physical brand of football they require.

"We did find a couple of guys that were very physical and had good technique that we weren't expecting," said Surratt, who enters the season with a 73-14 record in his first six years with the Bulldogs. "We've gotta get more depth. We've gotta have some guys that come through for depth purposes."

Familiar names among Carthage's starting lineup had solid Friday performances, Surratt said. UTSA-committed quarterback Blake Bogenschutz and tailback Tevin Pipkin are two of the 10 returning offensive starters from last year's unit, which averaged 42 points per game and led the Dawgs to an 11-3 record. Surratt said they had solid efforts.

They will play behind an offensive line that returns intact and averages 260 pounds per player. A pair of big veteran receivers -- 6-foot-2 Terian "Tee" Goree and 6-foot-5 O'Keeron Rutherford -- return after catching 109 passes combined in 2012. Surratt noted that another receiver -- Keldrean Strong, who also starts at cornerback -- had a strong Friday and ended practice with a 42-yard touchdown grab.

Carthage players compete in the "Blood Alley" drill at Friday morning's practice. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)

"Blake and Tevin had a really good day," Surratt said. "(Right tackle) Dillon Husar has played great all camp. Tee had a big day. Defensively, Jhavontay Brown at defensive tackle. He's not real big, but he's extremely quick and extremely strong.  Were waiting to see how he did in pads and he passed the test today."

Surratt also mentioned a few players in what appears to be a strong 2016 class.

Surratt said safety Jordan Romero had the "big hit of the day" during the Blood Alley drill. He also said 6-foot-4, 220-pound sophomore tight end/defensive end Marquise Guinn and 6-foot-3, 220-pound sophomore defensive end Jarrod McLin impressed the coaching staff.

Carthage needs those young defensive linemen to develop after the Bulldogs lost five front seven starters to graduation, including Texas A&M defensive tackle signee Isaiah Golden.

Carthage will get a stiff test vs. the run next Friday, when Kilgore visits for a scrimmage. Varsity competition starts at 7 p.m. from Bulldog Stadium.

 

Carthage's Mario McCain (left) and J.D. McCarthy face off in "Blood Alley" during Friday morning's practice at Bulldog Stadium. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)