Thursday, April 20, 2017

Orange tops Green 28-0 in Orange & Green game

Head Football Coach Alex Wood took his football team through its final scrimmage of the spring in the annual “Orange & Green Game.”  In an unusual twist to the game, it was not the first string against the second string.  The players had a draft during the week and players were divided up solely on the draft. 

After four periods of play, Wood needed to see a little more as he took the team through several situational segments after the fourth quarter concluded. In the end, it was all about the orange team that won by a score of 28-0.

Wood said many positive things came out of spring practice. 

“Today was unbelievable,” Wood said.  “I think the fans enjoyed this.  We needed this.  We’ve been practicing at 6:00 in the morning, so we needed to get the players out in some different conditions,” Wood said.

While Ryan Stanley, the team’s projected starter, was not able to establish continuity with his squad; backup quarterback Vincent Jefferies thrived in the game.  He threw three two touchdown passes, while third string quarterback Tahj Tolbert threw one.

No official statistics were kept, but several players had notable performances.  Tight end Desmond Noird caught five passes, including a touchdown in the end zone.  He said he was pleased to get work with the mixed squad. 

“We always need work with multiple quarterbacks so it was good to do that today. I’m just running my routes trying to get open and letting the quarterback sees me.  We’ve been working hard all spring and I’m happy that the work has not only paid off, but be on display in front of this crowd,” Noird said.

Defensively, Calvin Danville and Elijah Price proved that they can be one of the top defensive line duos in the country.  Danville carded two sacks while Price had several tackles-for-loss to his credit.  The linebacking corps showed stability and the secondary was solid as well.

Darville expects this to translate to a successful season. 

“I just wanted to come out and play hard and have fun.  This is our first spring game in a while so I just wanted to compete and let the fans see and know what we’re going to bring out for the next season.  We were ready to get out there and compete,” Danville said.

In the third phase, redshirt freshman kicker Khalil Clark impressed in his debut.  He is known for his kicking abilities, but he also had three punts with good hang time, which were over  50 yards each.  He was also perfect on PATs.  The YouTube sensation is known for his published video his senior season at Lincoln High School, where he spun a football to an upright position and kicked it through the uprights.  Clark will be depended upon to bring stability to the special teams after the departure of kicker/punter Colby Blanton.

A crowd announced at 4,366 took in the “Orange & Green Game” with tailgating going on at the game and plenty of festivities surrounding the game including a DJ.

The Rattlers will open fall camp in July as they prepare for their season opener at home on Aug. 26 in the inaugural Jake Gaither Classic.  The Rattlers will face Texas Southern University in the classic, in a game televised on ESPNU.  They will follow that in five days with a Thursday night game in Little Rock, AK against the Razorbacks of Arkansas of the SEC.  The game will be in War Memorial Stadium and also televised live on ESPN.  After a week off, the Rattlers head to Raymon James Stadium to take on the “Big Blue” Tigers of Tennessee State in the FAMU Tampa Classic.

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