MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

August 24, 2013

Mixed bag for Roughers in debut


Phoenix staff report

— Muskogee’s first preseason scrimmage Thursday at Mustang was a night of waves  – of big plays and stops and then waves of mistakes.

Muskogee coach Josh Blankenship summed it up with his team afterward, saying they played with mojo  – both good and bad. Midwest City scored two times on pass plays and once on a controlled drive.  Muskogee had an interception by Tavian Davis returned untouched.

Three players were held out  – Bryson Bell and Sammy Richardson on both offense and defense as well as starting running back Tyriq Beasley, all with what Blankenship said were minor injuries. While that impacted both sides of the football for the Roughers, Blankenship wasn’t overly displeased with the performance.

“Two were hail-Mary type up-for-grab throws and one was a drive they marched down on us,” he said.  “We had some big plays early (against Mustang and Union) and we had good focus and effort that seemed to lessen as the night went on (into Midwest City).

“But after looking at it on film I wasn’t as discouraged as I was as we finished.  A lot of what we did wrong is correctable. We have to bounce back from mistakes and have short memories.”

Sophomores Jacory Freeman and Xavier Taylor and freshman Molijah Gilbert were brought in to help with the running game which was minus Beasley and also his backup, Richardson and with an offensive line that returns no starters, execution was a struggle.

Quintahj Cherry did hook up several times with last year’s leading receiver, Anthony King. But there were no scoring drives.  On the other side of the ball, starters Tramal Ivy, Ty-Chris Beasley and Davis looked solid.

“The defense is still well ahead of the offense,” Blankenship said. “But we weren’t playing for (Thursday). We’re all about week 1 (of the regular season).”

Muskogee will be at home next Thursday, then open the regular season at Sand Springs a week from Friday.