, Muskogee, OK


April 21, 2013

Warriors move forward with a few steps backward in annual spring skirmish

Bacone’s offenses moved the ball with efficiency in Saturday’s spring game at Indian Bowl.

Sometimes, it moved as smoothly backwards.

The White and Black squads totaled 433 yards of offense in the annual spring game, a 14-6 win by the Whites. Yet, one of the areas the offense needs to work on before fall practice starts July 31 is from a discipline aspect.

Case in point, during the White’s first possession of the game, two 30-yard gains were wiped out  because of penalties – one on a block in the back and the other on an unsportsmanlike conduct.

“We’ve kind of been seeing the mental mistakes all spring,” said Bacone coach Trevor Rubly. “The false starts and the extra-curricular penalties really hurt us, but that’s just an attitude thing and we have to fix that. We’d have a couple of great plays and then a penalty comes along and that just shoots you in the foot.”

While there were plenty of errors to go around, there were also lots of positives to come out of the game, especially the play of quarterbacks Kyle Kuban and Karl Birkenfield.

Kuban, who started all nine games for the Warriors in 2012, was 11 of 19 for 117 yards and two touchdowns while Birkenfield was 14 of 20 with one interception for 147 yards and one TD.

“If we started the season tomorrow, they’d both get playing time,” Rubly said. “Hopefully one will take the reins and make it easy for us.”

Kuban was the starter for the White squad, move the team 62 yards in 19 plays before the drive stalled at the Black’s 19-yard line. On the Black’s first play of the next possession, Alfred Edwards of the White team recovered an Aron McCoy fumble, setting up the White squad at the Black’s 21.

Kuban wasted little time in capitalizing on the turnover, hitting a wide open Aurther Fleming in the front right corner of the end zone on the first play for a 21-yard TD pass to put the White up 8-0, after Kuban connected with Brandon Bethel for a successful 2-point try, with 10:37 left in the second quarter.

“It’s big when you get a turnover, you got to take a shot,” Kuban said. “It’s what you do, especially if he’s that wide open.”

While both teams were able to move the football, there we some bright spots on the defensive side of the line. Preston Sanders had four tackles including three sacks for a total of minus 19 yards, and Robert Roberson, who tallied four tackles with two sacks for minus 15 yards.

“It was a great day overall,” Sanders said. “I’m blessed to be a part of a team where I didn’t have to be the only player who was adept on the d-line. We got a lot of guys on our defensive line that can play and we just had a little taste today.”

After Kuban directed the White team to its second score of the game, a 17-yard TD strike to Bethel with 7:04 left in the fourth quarter, it was time for Birkenfield to show his leadership skills. Starting on the 25-yard line, Birkenfield directed the Black offense on a nine-play, 75-yard drive culminating with a 20-yard pass from Birkenfield to Ed Lee with 1:55 left to cut the White’s deficit to 14-6.

“Between now and the start of fall, I need to work on my mechanics,” Birkenfield said. “It’s gonna come down to spending a lot of time with the receivers. We all plan on staying here, staying close to the school, going to summer school and getting a lot of work done.”

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