Nacogdoches Shows Improvement in Multiple Areas in Tuesday’s Spring Football Game
NACOGDOCHES -- Bobby Reyes liked what he saw Tuesday during Nacogdoches' spring football game.
The Dragons' head coach, who enters his second season leading Nacogdoches, believes the 28-13 victory for the White team over the Black squad was more about team-wide improvement than anything the scoreboard suggested.
"We played real vanilla defensively and ran a small portion of our base offense," Reyes said. "We're a lot better than we were last year. Anybody who saw us then and saw us today can tell you that."
First-team quarterback Hunter McClellan had a solid performance. The junior-to-be completed 10 of 14 passes for 106 yards and a touchdown, which covered 35 yards to 2014 receiver L.J. Barnes on the game's fourth play. Barnes had four catches for 59 yards and is expected to be McClellan's top target this fall.
McClellan, who ran four times for 33 yards and a touchdown, was 1 of 4 quarterbacks to get playing time.
Junior-to-be James Oglesbee was 6-for-6 for 113 yards, including a 32-yard touchdown pass to Evan Guillory, while classmate Bryce Matthews completed 7 of 9 passes for 68 yards. The athletic Matthews also ran for a 23-yard touchdown.
The game's longest passing play came from 2016 athlete Michael Garrett, who found classmate Chris Ross on a 65-yard touchdown pass that gave the White squad a 14-0 first-quarter lead.
"Hunter did a good job," Reyes said. "Jim Oglesbee did a good job when he came in and so did Bryce Matthews."
One reason Nacogdoches' quarterbacks completed 25 of 37 passes was the Dragons' offensive line. Jacob Bragg, the 6-foot-4, 311-pound center with offers from Kansas and Louisiana Tech, anchors the offensive front, while fellow senior Malik Gilder played well at right tackle.
"We did a good job of protecting and creating some holes," Reyes said.
A slew of backs got carries, but 2016 speedster Pearce Adams flashed the most potential. Adams had the game's longest play from scrimmage, a 76-yard second-quarter touchdown for a 21-7 White lead. Adams, who will also play cornerback, had eight carries for a game-high 119 yards.
Defensively, Nacogdoches' front seven should be the Dragons' strength, Reyes said.
Ends Jacorey Whitaker and Greg Roberts, a 6-foot-5, 200-pounder with a Baylor offer, are 2014 players who will lead the defensive front this fall, according to Reyes. Middle linebacker Brian Scott (2014) is another veteran who played well Tuesday. Reyes spoke highly of his linebackers, including Shawn Smith and Jessie Graham.
"After the first two series, we got after it on defense. Our linebackers played really well," Reyes said. "We've got two really good defensive ends. Both are gonna make plays."
Reserve 2014 receiver Thomas Goode caught a game-high five passes for 45 yards.
Reyes said the Dragons' physical nature this spring has been encouraging, along with the success they experienced in track and field. Nacogdoches won the District 16-4A championship, performing particularly well in the relay events.
He believes the Dragons are prepared to turn the corner after last season's disappointing 0-10 season.
"We were so physical against each other in the spring. Track did wonders for us. All of our football players ran track and we were successful. In track we learned to compete," Reyes said. "We weren't a very good team last season. Our kids understand that everyone thinks 'They're Nacogdoches so we don't have to worry about them. We don't care what other people think. The past is the past. We aren't the same football team that we've been in the past."