, Muskogee, OK

April 20, 2014

Plenty of questions remain for Warriors

By Nick Hampton
Phoenix Correspondent

— If Saturday’s spring game was any indication, the Bacone Warriors will have lots of questions to answer about their offense when fall practice begins for the 2014 football campaign.

In a 93-play scrimmage, the Warriors got only two touchdowns and a field goal out of their offense and those were scored by the third and fourth team units.

“Offensively, we moved the ball at times, but then we’d shoot ourselves in the foot with a dropped pass (seven for the game) or a penalty (12 for 74 yards),” said Bacone coach Trevor Rubly. “We’ve got to clean that stuff up. Defensively, we had some good interceptions and takeaways, but at the same time, I saw some defensive backs biting on play fakes and you don’t want to see that.”

With the graduation of quarterbacks Karl Birkenfield and Kyle Kuban, Rubly was hoping to see some positives out of signal callers Jevone Valentine and Francis Drummond. But neither QB really shined and both suffered injuries during the course of the scrimmage.

Valentine, who was 24-of-44 for 151 yards, four interceptions, and a two-yard touchdown run, suffered a cut on his neck when he was thrown into the base of a filming tower on a sack. Drummond, who hit on 12-of-19 for a 128 yards and an interception, suffered a knee injury late in the first half and was done for the day, leaving Valentine as the only able-bodied quarterback to take the rest of the snaps.

Just a sophomore with limited experience, Valentine has some maturing to do if he wants to earn the starting nod, according to Rubly.

“The interceptions and missed throws are just something you expect out of a young quarterback trying to make plays when they’re not there,” said Rubly. “A sack is not the end of the world. A punt is not the end of the world, and if you force things and have turnovers, you’re not going to win many games.”

With Kuban and Aron McCoy gone, there are also question marks in the running game for Bacone. Trent Samuels was the most impressive of the running backs on the day with 14 carries for 110 yards and a touchdown. Eric Horsley Jr., who saw some limited action last year, carried six times for 32 yards. The Warriors also expect to get help from Victor Smith, Sean Stewart and Roderick Mackey.

The receiving corps returns some talented players in 2013 Central States Football League Co-Offensive Player of the Year David Chapman and CSFL second-teamer Renaldo Reyes Jr. Chapman had just one grab in the game while Reyes was the leading receiver with four receptions for 22 yards.

Overall, the spring game was a mixed bag for Rubly.

“It’s spring ball so you try some things out and try to get better,” said Rubly. “Today there were some disappointments. But there were also some good things, particularly on defense.

“Overall I’m happy with where things are. We need to try to find some more help at quarterback for depth purposes if we can during the summer. We just need to bring these guys back in August hungry and see how we pan out.”