Fan Fest scrimmage starts quickly
by Steve Behr Sports Editor
If the regular season starts out anything like the scrimmage at Appalachian State’s Fan Fest held Saturday, scorekeepers everywhere the Mountaineers play are going to be busy.
The Mountaineers, playing their fourth scrimmage of the fall practice season, began the session by scoring two touchdowns on two straight plays.
The first play of the scrimmage, technically, was Sam Martin’s touchback kickoff that cleared the 10-yard end zone. It was the following play that provided some early fireworks.
Starting quarterback Jamal Jackson got things going when he hit receiver Sean Price for a 75-yard touchdown on the first play of the scrimmage.
Jackson hit Price down the right sideline after the redshirt freshman outran the Mountaineers’ secondary. Price finished the scrimmage with six catches for 105 yards.
That was just the start. Doug Middleton returned the ensuing kickoff back 95 yards for a touchdown. Middleton was just getting warmed up. He also returned a punt 70 yards to set up another score.
It was an exciting way to start the scrimmage. Mountaineers head coach Jerry Moore felt that things slowed down afterward.
“We had the kickoff return and we had the long ball and were on kind of a high feel, and then I thought we got a little bit sloppy to tell you the truth,” Mountaineers coach Jerry Moore said. “We got just about everything done that we wanted to get done. We didn’t get anybody really hurt that they can’t get over in two or three days.”
The offense scored six touchdowns and two field goals in 16 possessions. The defense scored a touchdown when Brandon McGowan returned a fumble for a score. Greg Millhouse sacked quarterback backup quarterback Kameron Bryant and forced the loose ball.
The defense set up another touchdown when Patrick Blalock returned a fumble to the 4-yard line.
Jackson completed 13-of-20 passes for 174 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions. In the seven series he played, the Mountaineers scored a touchdown and two field goals.
Backup quarterback Kameron Bryant led five touchdown drives with the second-team offense. He completed 10-of-11 passes for 143 yards and a touchdown pass to Bobo Beathard, who made a leaping catch for a 15-yard score.
Freshman walk-on running back Ricky Fergerson led all rushers with 54 yards on just four carries. His 43-yard run set up another touchdown.
Defensive back Henry Barnes led the defense with nine tackles. He also broke up a pass. Fellow freshman defensive back Chris Shaffer added seven tackles, while starting linebackers Jeremy Kimbrough and Brandon Grier had seven and six tackles.
The unusual ending of the scrimmage mirrored its unusual start. Running back Matt Watson fumbled into the end zone on the final play, which was recovered by former Watauga receiver Trey Kavanaugh for a touchdown.
Appalachian State has two weeks to correct any problems before it plays at East Carolina on Sept. 1. Moore realized that Saturday’s Fan Fest was a distraction and would like to see improvement before taking on the Pirates.
“I know this was the Fan Fest thing and there’s lots of excitement,” Moore said. “They’ve got a concert after all that. For us, we had two or three issues that we know are issues.”
Magloire to redshirt
Incoming freshman Paul Magloire will redshirt this season, according to Moore.
Magloire, a 6-foot-2, 210-pound quarterback from Lynbrook, N.Y., met with Moore and agreed to take a redshirt.
Magloire played running back during the scrimmage Saturday.
“We talked to him about redshirting and he’s bought into that,” Moore said. “We’ve got two seniors at running back (Miller and Rod Chisholm), and it looked like to me that (Magloire) could be an excellent running back.”
Moore said depth at quarterback was a problem. Third-string quarterback Logan Hallock, who held for extra points and field goals Saturday, did not play quarterback because of a hamstring problem.
Jackson and Bryant took all of the snaps Saturday.
“We’ll get Logan back in the first part of the week,” Moore said.
Moore said he was disappointed in how the special teams played despite Middleton’s two returns, but was generally pleased with the scrimmage as a whole.
“I didn’t think the special teams were as good as I thought they might have been,” Moore said. “That was a good thing to see live on a night like this. Overall, we’re close to being on schedule.”
Moore said that the Mountaineers would likely have another scrimmage either Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on the team’s overall health and depth. Included in the injuries are center Alex Acey (head) linebacker Karl Anderson (head), defensive lineman Thomas Bronson (head), linebacker Drew Dowdy (thigh), offensive lineman Kalan Jones (head) running back Steven Miller (hip), offensive lineman Matt Privette (head), receiver Jonathan Shivley (back), receiver Andy Shuler (knee), defensive back Rodger Walker (illness) and tight end Jay Yokeley (leg).
All except Yokeley were listed as day-to-day. Yokeley is expected to miss 3-5 weeks. Defensive back Dante Blackmon (knee) is out of the season.