RED SPRINGS — Both coaches of the Red Springs and St. Pauls football teams had positive reviews for their defenses after both teams took part in their first scrimmage on Wednesday in a jamboree hosted by Red Springs.
For the Bulldogs, it was one of a pleasant surprise for coach Ernest King as he defense adjusts to a lack of size that it had last year and Red Spring coach Lawrence Ches’ experience defense did the job he expected of it against Trinity Christian.
“Defensively we looked great. I saw a lot of the defense and we have a brand new defense,” Ches said. “We flew to the ball and we had a couple breakdowns, but other than that I thought we played great.”
With one of the top defensive units returning in the county, the Red Devils flew to the ball to slow down the elusive running from Trinity’s backs and held it to one touchdown in its lone scrimmage. Reigning county defensive player of the year Jerome Bass, Nichorie West and Bobby McRae were at the heart of the defense that was swarming in the 50-minute scrimmage.
With a coaching staff change late this offseason, former offensive coach Robert Dove has taken over the defensive duties, and the players have adjusted to the new scheme.
“I thought Jerome handled it great. He’s the captain on the field,” Ches said.
Offense now under the direction of new Denym McKeithan at quarterback showed it was still young and learning, but showcased its new workhorse at tailback in Lee McLean.
“We’re really young on offense and we’ve got a ways to go,” Ches said. “We needed this. We needed bullets flying and kids in pressure situations because you find out the mettle of the kids.
“I thought Lee McLean was exactly as advertised. He’s going to be a bell-cow running back that’s going to get 20 touches a game easy.”
Against West Columbus, the Bulldogs’ defense got its first live-action reps, and other than a few minor miscues King was pleased with the results.
“Us flying around to the football and making tackles was the biggest thing,” King said. “We missed a few assignments, but that’s part of the first scrimmage. … We looked better than I thought we would on defense.”
The offensive side of the ball for St. Pauls shook off a shaking start with a few drops by its receiving corp and settled in behind the play of quarterback Noah Wheeler.
“We did a good job of executing with Noah,” King said. “Once he got going, the offense got going.”
Also providing a lift to the offense and help balance out the passing attack was the hard-nose running of back Marqueise Coleman.
Jonathan Bym can be reached at 910-816-1977. Follow him on Twitter @Jonathan_Bym.