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Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
First-team quarterback Josh Miller pitches to a running back during Saint Francis’ scrimmage on Saturday.

Defense shines at Cougars scrimmage

– The game clock didn’t run, statistics weren’t kept, there were no kickoffs or punts, and the Saint Francis football team was divided between the offense in white and the defense in blue – all in their faded and tattered practice jerseys.

It was an early-morning scrimmage, after all.

And when it was over, with the offense having scored twice and the defense once for what amounted to a 14-7 white team win, Cougars coach Kevin Donley gathered the boys around, told them he thought they played well, then – as if they didn’t know – reminded them that Game Week was here.

Had it not been for a pair of late touchdown passes by sophomore quarterback Wes Hunsucker, the defense would have recorded a shutout. But Hunsucker, No. 2 on the depth chart behind junior Josh Miller, threw a 20-yard strike to Ray Beverly and a 22-yarder to Dakota Favors. Both are freshmen.

When questioned if he was still fighting for the No. 1 quarterback spot, Hunsucker said: “Absolutely. It would be a disservice to Josh if I didn’t push for the No. 1 spot. I believe I can make him better by doing that.”

Miller worked with the No. 1 unit against the No. 1 defense, Hunsucker worked with the No. 2 offense against the No. 2 defense, and the third-team offense alternated between sophomore David Yoder and freshmen Logan Rehrer and Brad Jarzab.

Both the offensive and defensive players had their moments.

With running back Antoin Campbell and receiver Austin Coleman on the sidelines nursing minor injuries that aren’t expected to keep them out of Saturday’s season opener at Texas College in Tyler, Texas, running backs Kyle Mathewson and Andre Turner ran well with the first two units. Yoder had a long scramble of 29 yards. And Beverly, a 6-foot receiver from Indianapolis Pike, made his presence known with several receptions.

But it was the defense that stole the scrimmage, beginning with Homestead product Tracy Hathaway’s 50-yard interception return for a touchdown on the first series.

“We’ve been seeing these guys about two weeks straight,” Hathaway said. “I had an idea what the play was. I just went with what I saw and trusted my eyes and went for it.

“Our defense is extremely, extremely fast. We’ve got a lot of weapons this year.”

While Donley said the offense is beginning to catch up to the defense, he took notice of the defense’s performance.

“I thought the defense dominated today,” he said. “The defensive line is extremely strong and quick. It’s going to take a pretty good offensive line to block those guys.

“We’re going to bring a lot of pressure with those down four. And we got pretty good corner play with Hathaway and (Allen) Richardson. We’ve got some development to do at safety, but I thought we were coming along with that.”

stwarden@jg.net

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