High School Football
East Coweta outscores defending AAAA champs Griffin in scrimmage effort
by Doug Gorman
East Coweta’s football team won’t officially open the 2014 season under first-year head coach Steve Pardue for another two weeks, but the Indians got a little taste of victory Thursday, outscoring defending Class AAAA state champion Griffin 31-20 at Garland Shoemake Stadium in a scrimmage.
The Bears are also going through a coaching change while playing its first game under the direction of new head coach as Jarrett Laws, who took over the program earlier this year.
It was also a chance for new East Coweta defensive coordinator Rusty Easom to face his old school’s offense, with his unit responding in a big way after halftime.
??Down 14-7 at the outscoring the Bears two quarters, the last of which was between junior-varsity players with coaches observing from the field.
half, the Indians 24-6 over the final “It’s just a scrimmage game, but it was against a worthy opponent,” Pardue said. Defensively I thought we played well. Offensively, there are some things we need to work on, but I liked some of the things we did.”
The Indians’ offense struggled in their first two series, going three-and-out. But on the third, things started to click when sophomore quarterback Will LaGuardia moved the team 50-yards in six plays for the first score of the night.
LaGuardia connected with Chaz Cherry on a 16-yard pass to help the Indians pick up just their second first down of the game. Two plays later, he used his feet to find the end zone on a quarterback draw from just inside the Griffin 20.
Cole Antley connected on the Indians only extra point attempt, though the senior showed what he could do with several booming punts.
A 40 yarder pushed Griffin back to its own 10. However, the Bears answered the deep punt with their most impressive drive of the night marching the opposite way to tie the game.
With 6:44 left in the first half, Griffin returned a LaGuardia inception, allowing the Bears to jump ahead 14-7 lead at halftime.
East Coweta and Griffin then traded touchdowns in the middle of the third quarter.
The Indians started the second half with a impressive drive picking up two third downs along the way.
Junior Lernilous Newsom capped the 75-yard drive with the Indians’ longest
touchdown of the night, burst around several Griffin tacklers and scoring on a 23-yard run.
Backup quarterback Will Morris who ran the series picked up the two-point conversion to give the team a 15-14 lead.
Griffin answered right back on their next series converting two third-down plays into first and scoring on a long pass. The Bears failed to convert the 2-point conversion, and led 20-15.
Will Morris added the go-ahead touchdown late in the third quarter and Devonte Brown rushed in for the 2-point conversion to give the Indians a 23-20 lead.
East Coweta sealed the victory when Jacob Maraman forced a fumble deep in Griffin territory before adding a final touchdown on a Harris Maloy run. Aaron Singleton added the extra point.
East Coweta broke up several Griffin pass attempts including a couple by senior safety Kevin Lashley, who is expected to play on both sides of the ball.
The Indians gear up for Arabia Mountain in two weeks in the season opener.
“It is going to be a big week,” Pardue said. “We have to go back and look at the film of this game and do some evaluating. There some guys that game in a twos, who may not be twos. We had some guys really show out.”