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2007 Scrimmage Report #2 - Blairsville

(Author’s note: at the time of publishing this story, we didn’t have a complete roster so please excuse where we refer to players by their number. We will be working with the coaching staff to complete this story as soon as possible. Thank you. DK)

The Friday Night Lights were on at Trojan Stadium for the first time in 2007 last night (and boy did they attract the bugs!). Johnstown got together with Heritage Conference member Blairsville for their second and final preseason scrimmage prior to the start of the regular season. One week seems to have made a big difference as the Trojans looked much more impressive after their second week of preseason practice as Johnstown scored six touchdowns versus the Bobcats’ 1.

The format was a little different this week as each team’s offense took a traditional 10 play series from their own 20. After that, each team played using game situations with four downs, sticks on the sidelines, etc. It also gave us a first look at the Trojans’ special teams game from the punting and extra point standpoint. Both of those duties fell to #43 and he didn’t do bad. The one punt could be rated good (not great) and he was 2-for-3 on extra point conversions.

Blairsville took the ball on offense first and their first unit was able to drive the ball all the way to the Trojans’ 5 but an end around attempt was stuffed on the tenth and final play and the Bobcats were denied the end zone. The drive moved to the Blairsville 40 after a completed pass down the left sideline. After a fullback dive gained just a yard, a nice play-action pass was completed to the tight end that moved the ball to midfield. Play nine was a forty-five yard completion from the shotgun formation. The Bobcats lined up in twins right and motion shifted the formation to trips and there was a blown coverage that caused the big gain. So, the breakdown gave up big yardage but the scrimmage rules kept them from advancing to score by giving them just one chance.

The Trojans’ lone ten-play series was wildly successful as they scored twice (on plays two and nine). After the initial offensive play of the scrimmage for JHS was muffled by a mishandled pitch that actually lost a yard, Antwuan Reed took the carry on play two and ran 81 yards to pay dirt. Plays three through eight consisted of four runs, a sack and an incomplete pass. Then on play nine Shawn Lehman dropped back to pass and took a huge hit. However, before that hit he was able to get the pass off and he hit Jordan Jefferson down the right side of the field for a 47-yard touchdown.

On Blairsville’s first “real game” situation, the Bobcats scored their lone touchdown of the evening. The drive appeared to be stalling after a penalty and a couple of lost yardage plays. However, a rollout pass gained 34 yards and advanced the ball to the Trojan 40. On the next play, the fullback took a dive play up the middle of the defense and ran unimpeded for the score. The Bobcats converted their extra point attempt.

For JHS’ first game series, the offense stalled after eight plays and was forced to punt. The best play off the series was a rocket screen pass from Lehman to Quadir Christian which gained 26 yards.

It wouldn’t be long for the Trojans to capitalize as they were opportunistic in causing turnovers in the next two defensive series. First, #42 picked off a pass in the fourth play of the Blairsville series. Johnstown quickly made Blairsville pay for this mistake as Reed scored a touchdown from around sixty yards out. #43’s extra point was no good.

#20 in the white jersey picked off a Blairsville pass seven plays later to get the Trojans the ball back. This time it took the Trojans just three plays to get in the end zone as Christian took the handoff and advanced the ball to the Blairsville 34. The second play was an eight-yard run by #18. This was followed up by a 26-yard touchdown pass from Lehman to sophomore wideout Richard Agurs. #43 booted the ball through the uprights for his first successful PAT attempt.

After the Trojan defense stopped Blairsville on a fourth down pass attempt, backup #82 made a 51-yard run for a touchdown and #43 converted his second PAT.

At this point, both backup squads pretty much finished out the scrimmage and only Johnstown was able to get a score as sophomore Jon Siciliano lead an impressive drive with three of four pass including one for a touchdown, giving the Trojans their final score of the evening.

All in all, the team look improved from a week ago, but they still have work to do prior to the regular season starting. One nice positive was that the first defense really got after the ball, both stopping the run and rushing the passer. There is still room for improvement from the secondary as far as defending the pass but it’s nothing that cannot be remedied prior to week one.

Blairsville opens Friday night at Homer Center while the Trojans open at home with Central Cambria.

Next week it counts! See you at Trojan Stadium!

Doug Keklak can be reached at doug.keklak@trojannation.net

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