Youth not a problem for Iota in scrimmage

KAPLAN – It’s no secret that the Iota Bulldogs will be a young squad this year.

Apparently no one told them that however.

The Bulldogs, which have 16 freshmen, 23 sophomores, eight juniors and four seniors, will lean heavily on the younger players throughout the year, and if Thursday night’s scrimmage was any indicator, the younger Dogs are ready for their shot.

“I was very pleased with our effort,” said Neal Legé, Iota’s head coach. “We have a very young ball club and they did well today. It’s all we can ask right now, we are taking baby steps and we just want to get better week to week.”

The three-way scrimmage featured the Bulldogs and Eunice Bobcats traveling to Kaplan to take on the Pirates.

After two scrimmages between Iota, Kaplan and Eunice that showcased the younger sides of each squad, the first team offenses and defenses took the field in different pairings.

Iota’s first team defense took on Kaplan’s first team offense at first. The Bulldogs’ defense started strong effectively forcing two three and outs but in the Pirates third series, Kaplan started to get the ball moving with the help of big plays.

Three double digit runs mixed helped the Pirates quickly move the scrimmage into the red zone and on the seventh play of the series, Kaplan found itself in the endzone.

Iota’s defense would not take the field again until the final scrimmage of the evening, taking on a Eunice offense that scored three touchdowns in its scrimmage against Kaplan earlier.

In that scrimmage, Iota alternated a solid stop with a penalty for the first several plays. The two penalties, resulting in 20 yards coupled with Eunice’s offensive efficiency led to another red zone visit for Iota’s defense. This time however, the defense would stand, leading to Eunice traveling the football field just to come up without anything to show for it.

“We did well,” said Legé of the Bulldogs’ defense. “We have a lot of guys playing on both sides of the ball and they got tired, but they dealt with it and played hard.”

In both scrimmages, Iota kept their opponents off of the score board.

Iota’s first team offense went back-to-back scrimmages facing first Eunice’s defense then Kaplan’s.

When the Bulldogs and Bobcats squared off, Iota’s new look offense had trouble finding the end zone. Twenty-seven combined rushing yards between junior Brandon Fantroy and sophomore Michael Thevis were quickly equalized by the Bobcats adjustments and just as quickly as that, Iota was forced to restart offensively.

In the second series, Iota struggled to break off big plays, except for a more than 40 yard rush by Fantroy and the series and scrimmage against Eunice’s defense ended with an interception thrown by junior Thomas Murrell.

Fantroy finished the first scrimmage with five carries for 69 yards and Thevis tacked on seven more yards in five carries. Murrell’s two attempted passes fell incomplete. He had one interception.

The second offensive scrimmage for Iota saw a bit more success, however.

When the Pirate’s defense took on Iota’s offense, three 3 and outs were forced before Iota’s offense finally saw consistent ball movement. In that fourth series, Murrell would complete two lateral passes and one final touchdown pass to Ryan Chapman to end the series with three of four passes complete for 52 yards.

“After looking at the stats and everything, it’s obvious we are a better team in the split-back veer,” said Legé of Iota’s offense. “But we got some guys that are out right now that will make us a better power-I team.”

Iota will next be in action Thursday in Crowley at Gardner Memorial Stadium for the Vermilion/Acadia Jamboree. Kickoff for Iota’s game against North Vermilion is slated for 6 p.m.

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