Tale of two halves for Indians in scrimmage
by Doug Gorman
The good thing about Thursday night's scrimmage between the East Coweta Indians and the Whitewater Wildcats is it won't count in the regular-season standings.
So despite the scoreboard reading 34-19 in the Wildcats' favor, East Coweta head coach Clint Wade took a practical approach to the outcome.
'It was just a scrimmage,' he said. 'We are playing a lot of young guys and we are just trying to grasp the basic fundamentals and understand what we are doing.'
Playing in weather made for late September, the football quality showcased by East Coweta early still felt like early August.
In a format that saw the varsity play just the first three quarters, East Coweta had trouble moving the ball early, picking up just two first downs in the first half.
'We just didn't play in the second quarter,' Wade said. 'We were in position. I thought were were just a little bit flat. You are supposed to play this game wide open. We did not play this game wide open. We are going to get better, and we are going to give a good effort.'
The Indians' first touchdown came thanks to a fumbled punt by Whitewater that gave East Coweta the ball at the Whitewater goalline Outside of that possession, the Indians didn't move the ball past midfield until the second half.
A Whitewater lineup coming off last year's trip to the Class AAAAA semifinals, took advantage of East Coweta's problems early, building a 20-0 lead with a little more than nine minutes to go in the second quarter.
The Wildcats increased the lead to 27-6 at the break by scoring on Colton Clemons' short touchdown run to compete the team's first offensive series of the second half.
After forcing the Indians to punt after picking up just one yard on the first series, Whitewater started its first position in Indians' territory, taking over at East Coweta's 43.
It took just two plays for the Wildcats to move the ball into the end zone. After quarterback Jay Ashley hit Cooper Fisher over the middle on a 15-yard pass, running back Christian Wafford did the rest, taking the handoff, busting into the end zone on a 15-yard scamper.
After a missed extra point, the Wildcats led 6-0.
One series later, the Wildcats took advantage of an arrant East Coweta snap, as the Wildcats Amon Crumpton recovered the ball in the East Coweta end zone. The Wildcats' attempt to convert a 2-point conversion failed ,and they led 12-0.
East Coweta trailed 20-0 when the Wildcats struck again. just a few minutes later.
Wafford was again the workhorse of the drive carry the ball five times and converting a 9-yard attempt into his second touchdown of the night to help the visitors from across the county line take the third touchdown lead.
The Indians found the end zone midway through the second quarter when McKenzie Martin recovered the Wildcats' fumbled punt down near the goalline.
Senior quarterback Bryce Gemmel capped the drive with a 1-yard run on second down to put the Indians on the scoreboard with 7:25 left before the half. The missed extra point cut the Wildcats lead to 20-6.
Whitewater added one more touchdown and extra point right before the half for a 27-6 lead at the break.
The Wildcats put the game out of reach in the opening series of the third quarter marching 65 yards in nine plays.
Jay Ashley, who started the drive with a 14-yard run, capped series on a 6-yard scamper into the end zone and a 34-6 lead.
East Coweta put together its most impressive drive on first series, finally getting the ball over midfield on a long throw from Gemmel to Reagan Thomas. One snap later, Gemmel escaped untouched off right end on a bootleg for a 54-yard touchdown run that caught the Wildcats defense napping. The long run cut the Indians deficit to 34-13.
After East Coweta's defense held its ground to force a punt, Gemmel picked up two more first downs for East Coweta on its next drive to help push the ball inside the Wildcat 10.
The Indians appeared ready to strike again with another long drive midway through the third quarter, but a fumble ended East Coweta's scoring hopes after marching from midfield to the Whitewater 7.
In a junior varsity fourth quarter contest, East Coweta added the final touchdown when freshman Carlos Ford scampered into the end zone.
East Coweta opens its season on Aug 30 at home against Henry County.
The Indians defeated the Warhawks 35-7 to open last year's schedule in a game also played at Garland Shoemake Stadium.