Carthage Unveils New Video Board, Balanced Attack in Scrimmage vs. Gladewater
CARTHAGE -- A new $750,000 video scoreboard wasn't the only thing on display in Friday's scrimmage between Carthage and Gladewater at Bulldog Stadium.
Carthage dominated Gladewater during the controlled portion of the scrimmage, but the Bears clawed back and scored late in the live half to pull within 14-13 of the Bulldogs' first night with their new visual toy. The video board is the largest at a high school facility in the world, according to Nevco, the Illinois-based company that built it.
The board was passed in a bond election by 68.6 percent of voters, along with two other bond items that were approved overwhelmingly: $9.5 million toward maintenance and technology upgrades to the district's campuses, and $3.25 million toward a multi-purpose indoor facility that should be ready next year.
While fans marveled at the new structure, players on each team appeared to be focused on the field, which Carthage coach Scott Surratt said didn't surprise him. He doesn't believe players will be distracted by the video board.
"When we were in the live portion of it, I never even looked at it. I've got to start looking at it because I'm asking the (coaches) upstairs what happened, and I can look over and get a replay and see what happened sometimes," Surratt said. "Once that ball's kicked off I don't think that's going to be the focus. I think it'll be fun for our fans and they'll be able to see the game better. If they miss a play they'll be able to see it on replay, so I think it's going to be a great deal for us, but I don't think it's going to be the focus."
In first team vs. first team controlled action, Carthage scored twice in 11 plays, including when junior Tevin Pipkin (5-10, 170) sprinted untouched 66 yards for a touchdown on the scrimmage's second play.
After a lightning delay, Carthage returned to the field and finished a drive that covered 70 yards in nine plays and was capped by junior quarterback Blake Bogenschutz's 11-yard touchdown strike to junior Tee Goree (6-2, 170).
Then came Carthage's defense.
The Bulldogs, led by Texas A&M-bound defensive tackle Isaiah Golden (6-2, 315), held Gladewater to minus-4 yards in 10 plays, including forced fumbles and recoveries on the Bears' first two plays. Junior linebacker Tre Leary and sophomore safety Bryian Bolton (5-10, 175) recovered the fumbles. Golden, defensive end Gregg Graves (6-1, 205), defensive end Mario McCain (6-0, 240), and linebacker D.K. Calloway (5-7, 175) each had a tackle for loss, and cornerback Sammy Chhor (5-9, 165) had a pass breakup.
In the live half, Gladewater answered Bogenschutz's 17-yard touchdown to junior Okeeron Rutherford (6-5, 180) with a 70-yard strike from senior quarterback Derrick Daniels (6-1, 182) to senior Nick Johnson (6-2, 176) on Daniels' bootleg and a busted coverage by Carthage. The Bulldogs added a 25-yard touchdown strike from Bogenschutz to Goree, and Daniels again found Johnson, this time from 10 yards, on the live half's final play before a missed PAT left the score 14-13, Carthage.
Gladewater coach Jerrod Baugh, who scheduled scrimmages against perennial powers Tatum and Carthage, wanted to test his team early to prepare them for the District 16-3A grinder.
"We needed to shake off some of our nerves," said Gladewater coach Jerrod Baugh of his team's rough start against Carthage. "They're moving at a way faster speed than we are. Like I told the team, I don't know if we'll see another team that good. They're good, especially this early in the season. That's what we needed. Tatum's a good football team, too, but they weren't moving around like that.
In combined controlled action and live half play, Bogenschutz was 11-for-21 for 139 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception, while junior reserve William Rittenberry was 3-for-5 for 29 yards and a four-yard touchdown to Tyler Musgrove. Carthage ran 30 times for 208 yards, led by Pipkin's 76 yards on five carries. Bolton had eight carries for 50 yards. Rutherford led Carthage with four catches for 68 yards and a touchdown, followed by Goree's three catches for 40 yards and two scores.
Golden had two tackles for loss, including a sack during the live half.
Carthage outgained Gladewater, who got a strong night from Daniels, 376-244. Gladewater's first team played the majority of the snaps, while Carthage regularly cycled first- and second-teamers. Daniels was 9-for-14 for 98 yards and three touchdowns and ran nine times for 83 yards. Johnson caught three passes for 63 yards, all for touchdowns.
"I thought we were very physical both offensively and defensively to start the scrimmage. We lost our intensity after the delay, not only the lightning delay but after our No. 1 defense went and then sat awhile," Surratt said. "We knew we didn't want to run Pipkin much. We wanted to get our passing game going a little bit. I thought we did some, and we struggled a little bit some. I thought it was OK."
Gladewater standout defensive tackles L.D. Anthony (5-10, 302), a senior, and Daylon Mack (6-2, 297), a sophomore, didn't get the penetration they got in last week's scrimmage against Tatum. Baugh knew that would be the case. Nevertheless, each had one tackle for loss despite getting a lot of attention for Carthage's offensive line, which averages about 270 pounds per player.
"They (Carthage) have got some big ol' offensive linemen. (Anthony and Mack) were going to get double-teamed, and that's exactly what they needed," Baugh said. That may be the best set of offensive linemen we see. I hope that's the best set of offensive linemen we see. (Anthony and Mack) made some plays and did some good things, and that's what I wanted to see."
Gladewater starts its season Aug. 31 at Daingerfield. Carthage hosts Jacksonville that night.