Mountaineers cap soggy Fan Fest with scrimmage
by Steve Behr Sports Editor
Preseason fall practices are over. It's now time for Appalachian State to focus on the 2013 season and the Mountaineers' first foe, Montana.
The Mountaineers held a final scrimmage at soggy Kidd Brewer Stadium Saturday in front of a Fan Fest crowd of an estimated 4,500. The scrimmage, played in a light, but constant rainstorm, produced just three touchdowns and a field goal for an App State offense that moved the ball well at times, but struggled to hang on to the football.
"This whole week has been really nice," Mountaineers coach Scott Satterfield said. "I thought we were going to get some rain toward the middle of the week and then it showed up today."
Satterfield would have rather seen a clear day, but also said that the Mountaineers have to be prepared to play in inclement weather. Kidd Brewer Stadium is usually due for at least one game when the weather is bad, and Satterfield feels the Mountaineers have to be prepared for it, especially when it comes to ball security.
The Mountaineers' offense turned the ball over four times, but also rolled up 486 yards of total offense. Appalachian State's defense also forced five three-and-outs, including the first two offensive series of the 93-play scrimmage.
"As much rain that we've had here in the High Country, we may have a game or two in this weather, so it's always good to get out and participate in the rain like this," Satterfield said. "We put the ball on the ground tonight. Really, our guys have taken good care of the ball throughout the whole camp. Tonight we put the ball down more so, and that probably due to the weather."
It didn't seem to have too much effect on Appalachian State's passing game, at least when it came to touchdowns. All three of the Mountaineers' TDs were scored through the air.
Backup quarterback Kameron Bryant tossed a 10-yard touchdown to Sean Price and a 26 yarder to Simms McElfresh. Starting quarterback Jamal Londry-Jackson's screen pass to freshman running back Marcus Cox, who raced 63 yards for a touchdown.
"We ran the play, I caught the ball and I saw green," Cox said. "Sean Price had a really nice block. This is the second time we've scored on this play. Sean Price had a nice block downfield and the offensive line really sold the screen."
Eric Davidson led the Mountaineers in running with 104 yards on 10 carries. Bobo Beathard caught five passes for 59 yards.
Defensively, the Mountaineers forced five fumbles and recovered three. App State's Tyrell Brown picked off a pass late in the scrimmage and returned it 55 yards before being stopped from scoring a touchdown.
Lee Wright, another freshman, led the Mountaineers with seven tackles. Deuce Robinson, Tashion Singleton and Stephen Burns all notched a sack, and the Mountaineers had eight tackles for a loss.
"I guess going against an offense all fall camp, you kind of pick up on a couple of their calls or whatever," Robinson said. "It's the same with them. They can kind of read our defenses, which is probably easy after going up against us."
Satterfield blamed fatigue, in part, for the Mountaineers' sloppy play on offense.
"It's been a long two weeks for our guys," Satterfield said. "Two weeks ago Friday is when we started this thing and we've been going pretty much non-stop, including two-a-days. The guys fought through it, but I though they looked heavy-legged."
Several players were held out of the scrimmage for various injuries. Wide receiver Malachi Jones (knee), kicker Drew Stewart (foot), offensive lineman Davante Harris (ankle), tight end Josh Anding (head), kicker Mark Powell (leg), defensive back Doug Middleton (head), tackle Tyson Fernandez (head), linebacker Karl Anderson (head), guard Ian Bernard (head), quarterback Kalik Barnes (head), defensive back Brandon Pinckney (leg), and running back Ricky Fergerson (foot) are all listed day-to-day and should be ready to play at Montana on Aug. 31.
Defensive back Chris Starks (knee) is likely to be out several weeks.