Carthage + Kilgore Trade Blows in Friday’s Season-Opening Scrimmage
CARTHAGE -- Two preseason top 10 Class 3A teams got their first taste of intersquad competition Friday at Bulldog Stadium.
No. 6 Kilgore and No. 2 Carthage split the bout in a virtual draw, with Kilgore edging Carthage two touchdowns to one in the controlled scrimmage before Carthage notched a 7-0 live-quarter win.
New Kilgore quarterback Benny Colbert, who started at cornerback and played a limited offensive role as a junior in 2012, showed his throwing ability, connecting on touchdowns of 70 and 19 yards during the first-team portion of the controlled scrimmage. The 70-yarder came on a broken-play scramble when he found classmate Aaron Foy, Kilgore's leading returning receiver, behind the defense for the score.
Carthage senior quarterback Blake Bogenschutz was his usual impressive self. During Carthage's live-quarter victory, he completed 7 of 12 passes for 77 yards, including a seven-yard rollout touchdown pass to senior Terian "Tee" Goree, who caught six of Bogenschutz' seven completions and gained 69 yards. Bogenschutz also connected with senior receiver O'Keeron Rutherford on a one-yard jump-ball touchdown during the controlled scrimmage to cap a nine-play, 70-yard drive.
"I like the way Bogie played," said Carthage head coach Scott Surratt of his third-year starting quarterback who's committed to UTSA. "He played really well."
Kilgore head coach Mike Wood, who must replace quarterback Cooper Coldiron's 1,447 passing yards and 13 touchdown throws, liked what he saw from the athletic Colbert.
"Benny's just gotta learn to take what the defense gives you. He wants to be a playmaker and wants to make big plays. He's just gotta be patient," Wood said. "It was the first scrimmage and he was excited about coming out here and trying to make plays, and he made some and made some mistakes. Benny's a competitor and he's gonna give you everything he's got on Friday."
Wood said he wants his team, which fumbled several times, to protect the ball better, although a few mishandled snaps could've been a result of Nolan Grush's toughness. Kilgore's center broke his right hand Wednesday and, refusing to sit out, snapped Friday night using his left hand.
Kilgore's pass rush improved toward the end of the scrimmage, which was a good sign for Wood's team since it played without a couple of defensive linemen, including starter D.Q. Scott. Wood was happy to have his younger players gaining experience against an opponent like Carthage.
"It's great to scrimmage Carthage. They're gonna be big and physical. They're gonna be well-coached," Wood said. "Hopefully we're that kind of football team. We always have great scrimmages (with Carthage). It really shows us where we are."
An interesting aspect of Carthage's performance was the obvious tailback duty-sharing by senior Tevin Pipkin (5-10, 165) and junior Bryian Bolton (5-10, 175). Both ran well when they got their chances. They also shared time in the secondary.
Pipkin enters the season fifth on Carthage's all-time rushing list, needing 1,778 yards to tie the school career record held by Kris Briggs (5,130). Bolton tied a single-season school record with eight picks in 2012 as a sophomore.
Obviously, head coach Scott Surratt would like to see them on the field on both sides of the ball as much as possible.
"They're hungry to play both. They both wanna be the guy at tailback and they both wanna be the guy at safety," Surratt said. "We're letting them fight it out, and whoever becomes the starting tailback, the other should become the starting safety. But they're both gonna get their carries and both play some defense."
That's bad news for opposing defenses, who already must deal with Carthage's 10 returning offensive starters, including lineman Adrian Goodacre. The 6-foot-4, 318-pound Louisiana-Lafayette commit had one of the best performances of the scrimmage. He's making the move from right guard, where he started as a junior, to left tackle to protect Bogenschutz' blind side.
"I liked our effort. We made so many mistakes. We've got several new players on defense and we didn't fit very good some, but I loved our effort," Surratt said. "They had some big plays and we turned and ran. We're gonna do that. We're gonna give great effort. We need to just be more physical. We're learning what we're gonna do defensively and we're still learning offensively because we've got some new players. I know Tee Goree had a big night, and he's gonna have a bunch of them, but we've gotta get some other guys going."
Carthage tallied the only second-team score during the controlled portion of the scrimmage. Sophomore quarterback Jarod Blissett, who is expected to back up Bogenschutz, led the Dawgs down the field before hitting senior Keldrean Strong for a touchdown. Strong is expected to join Goree and Rutherford in Carthage's receiving corps after starting most of 2012 at cornerback, where he will once again start this fall.
Carthage travels to Gladewater on Friday evening for its second scrimmage. Kilgore hosts Hallsville in a scrimmage that same night.
Carthage opens the season at Jacksonville on Aug. 30, the same night Kilgore travels to Marshall.