ScotlandvilleHigh tests Eagles in second SJHS scrimmage

EAGLE BACKS...St. John High back Tyler Shields (17) goes in motion while quarterback Mike Martinez (9) shouts a play call to wide receiver Corey Kimble (background) and back Da’vante Williams (18) awaits the snap during the recent Eagle scrimmage against 3-A Livonia High. The Eagles head to the All Catholic Jamboree tomorrow (Friday) night at Redemptorist in BR.

Coach Barry “Tut” Musemeche already sees how having an extra La. High School Officials Assn. scrimmage opportunity two weekends ago will help his St. John High football team get well prepared for the upcoming gridiron season.

It all came around last week when his Eagles went up against 5-A Scotlandville High in a second preseason scrimmage.

“By the time we finish this week’s jamboree game with St. Michael’s we will have seen three completely different styles and offensive-defensive systems. That is really going to help us get prepared for the season. Getting an opportunity to scrimmage Livonia in the officials’ workout was a blessing. Before we play our first game we will have seen a variety of offenses and defenses,” noted Coach Musemeche last Saturday.

The Eagle coach said Scotlandville ran a different system than Livonia and hosted with a very athletic football team, especially up front.

“Scotlandville was a real test for us. They are good. They are very talented up front and return their big back from last year as well as some other speed in the backfield. It was a physical workout. Both teams were very physical. We held our own. Our young offensive line did well against their athletic defense,” explained Musemeche.

This was the third year in a row Musemeche has sent an SJHS team up against 5-A Scotlandville in a preseason scrimmage and the Eagle coach said this year’s opponent was the best and the most prepared of the three.

 “They were in better condition and were more athletic than the previous ones we faced. We went up against their option offense, which we don’t face usually. We ended up doing very well against it. Our defensive front group led the way for us. Our defensive ends Herman Fitch and Nathan Voison as tackle Curtis Jones were outstanding and Kade Yarbrough turned in a solid effort at linebacker,” said Musemeche.

The SJHS coaching staff did not view any film on either Livonia or Scotlandville prior to the scrimmages. Musemeche said he did so on purpose. “I wanted to see how our players and coaching staff would adapt during the scrimmages to the different styles of play. We managed to adapt very well and that pleased me. We are making progress,” noted the coach.

The Eagles played very well in the early going of the workout. Junior Da’vante Williams intercepted a SHS pass and returned it to the 35-yardline. Not long after, Williams grabbed a pass from senior quarterback Mike Martinez and got the ball down to the two-yardline. Junior running back Kaleb Campesi then scored on a short run.

Later, Fitch garnered a QB sack and recovered a fumble to set up the Eagles in SHS territory, but no score resulted. Then the Eagle offense put together a 65-yard scoring series passing and running the football. Senior and La. Tech commitment Warren Bates had a key 20-yard run and senior Tyler Shields grabbed a 25-yard pass to get the Eagles inside the SHS 10-yardline. Shields tallied on a five-yard run for the second Eagle score to cap the drive.

Musemeche said Scotlandville got its offense going near the middle of the scrimmage, making good on a handful of third- and fourth-down pickups. They had some good runs and connected on pass plays, despite good Eagle secondary coverage, and knotted up the TD tally at two apiece.

However, the hosts had no answer for the speedy and talented Williams. The junior made his second interception of the workout to stop the opponents. Not long after he was off to the races on a 70-yard TD run that gave the locals the final TD edge, three to two scores.

“I saw some good things by us against a talented opponent. Now it is back to work for our jamboree date with St. Michael’s and then the start of the regular season,” noted Coach Musemeche.