Carthage Lines, Kilgore Secondary Shine in Saturday’s Scrimmage
KILGORE — Two old rivals from Class 4A days gone by started the live competition portion of their 2012 seasons Saturday at R.E. St. John Memorial Stadium.
Carthage’s line play got the best of the ground game on both sides of the ball, while Kilgore’s secondary held Carthage to 19 passing yards in a live quarter in the first scrimmage for two programs with high hopes in Class 3A in 2012.
Each team had a hand full of good plays during the controlled portion of the scrimmage, including a long touchdown pass from new Kilgore quarterback Cooper Coldiron (5-11, 170, senior) to two-way standout Benny Colbert (5-10, 175, junior), who also had highlight-reel interception. Colbert stripped Carthage junior Tee Goree (6-1, 175) on a 50-plus-yard deep ball in the end zone, popping the ball into the air for the pick during controlled action.
“We played a lot of zone, we didn’t blitz, we didn’t put a lot of pressure on the quarterback,” said Kilgore coach Mike Wood, who has 5 of 7 returning starters in his back seven. “They got a lot of good reads and they kept the ball in front of them and broke on things. We expect (the secondary) to be one of our strengths this year.”
But Carthage, averaging about 270 pounds per offensive lineman, frequently asserted its will in the trenches.
Junior tailback Tevin Pipkin (5-10, 170) sprinted 38 yards through a huge hole on the left side on Carthage’s first play of the controlled portion, then ran four times for 32 yards during a live quarter that ended in a 7-7 tie. Carthage held Kilgore to 31 yards on 11 carries during that quarter as standout senior defensive tackle Isaiah Golden (6-2, 315), who faced constant double-teams, had two tackles for loss and two QB hurries.
Golden, a Texas A&M commit who moved from Elysian Fields in March, joins a group of experienced defensive linemen who will give Carthage a strong front.
“Mario McCain’s going to be a really good player and has been a good player for two years. He’s a lot better than he ever has been,” said coach Scott Surratt. “K’Aelin Ware is a really good player also. Our front four is solid. Gregg Graves can play, Lane Pierce can play, J’Marcus Roberson. We’ve got six or seven guys up front that we think we can play. Defensively, I think we’re going to be solid before it’s over.”
Carthage ran for 43 yards on five carries during the live quarter and regularly gained yardage on the ground during controlled action. Pipkin, who rushed for more than 1,707 yards in 2011 as a sophomore, wasn’t the only Carthage player to run for chunks; senior D.K. Calloway (5-7, 170), junior Fabaion Johnson (5-11, 175), and sophomore Bryian Bolton (5-8, 165) each flashed rushing ability.
Surratt is confident in his team’s ground attack.
“I thought we were very physical in the run game and I think that we did what we wanted to do in the run game,” Surratt said. “We think we’ve got four or five good backs. … Coach (Chris) Smith does a great job with (the offensive line). He’ll get that crew going. They’ve got to mesh together. We didn’t see a lot of fronts or blitzes today and we know we’ve got a long way to go, but it was a good start.”
Kilgore, which is replacing 2,400 combined rushing yards from L.D. Anthony and Dondra Halton, also tried four different ball carriers, each of which had his moments. Senior Cornelius Bell (6-1, 230), who will also play defensive end, had several bruising gains, including a 22-yard swing pass during the live quarter.
Kevrin Justice, JuJu Brown, and Austin Jordan also got carries.
“I thought they ran well. We didn’t block some things like they should’ve been blocked up front, but I think those kids are going to be OK,” Wood said. “I think there are going to be two or three backs we can use.”
Kilgore, which tied the live quarter on its final play with an 18-yard touchdown strike from Coldiron to Aaron Foy, travels to Hallsville on Friday for a second scrimmage. The varsity portion starts at 7 p.m. Wood hopes to see a better mental grasp of the schemes from his team.
“Anytime you play Carthage it’s going to be physical. I thought our kids in that aspect of it held up well,” Wood said. “Mentally right now we’re making too many mistakes to give ourselves a chance.”
Surratt wants to see improvement in Carthage’s passing game, which suffered from a couple of drops. That hurt junior quarterback Blake Bogenschutz’s numbers, which were skewed a bit by the mishaps. Bogenschutz was 4-for-9 for 19 yards and a touchdown — a five-yard fade to Goree — during the live quarter.
Carthage hosts Gladewater on Friday. The varsity plays at 7 p.m. Carthage’s new scoreboard will be operational.
“Obviously we struggled in the passing game a little bit, and the last thing usually to come is the timing in the passing game,” Surratt said. “The quarterback seeing everybody running at him, pushing the pocket properly. There’s a lot of things that go into the passing game.”