Just when he thought he had narrowed the focus, Trevor Rubly was handed a used monkey wrench Saturday.
The Bacone coach watched as Carrollton, Texas, native Ryan Morrow guided the Black team to three first-half touchdowns in a 24-17 win over the White team during Bacone’s spring game at Indian Bowl.
One of those TDs was a 7-yard pass to Lavell Broughton that made it a 7-3 game with 5:05 on the first-quarter clock. Another pass out of the backfield to fullback Sterling Jones, who zig-zagged through coverage for 65 yards to the end zone, was brought back on a holding call.
That would have added more shine to Morrow’s 10-of-15, 105-yard day with no interceptions. The lack of mistakes made him sparkle over the efforts of Kyle Kuban and Raymond Huizar, who coming in were viewed as front-and-center in the battle for the starting job.
Both playing for the White, Kuban was 13-of-24 for 113 yards and Huizar 4-of-10 for 47. Neither threw a TD pass and both were intercepted twice, one of Huizar’s on his first pass. One of Kuban’s was in the end zone and ended a scoring threat.
“Spring sometimes has surprises,” Rubly said. “I thought Ryan’s decision making and correctly looking at his reads were both good. That’s the main thing, if you can manage the game, you can give your team a chance to win and that’s really what I’m looking for.”
Morrow called it a “solid day.”
“It wasn’t always the big shot down the field, but we kept the defense on the sideline, we kept the clock moving and our defense on the sideline. Some guys around me stepped up and made some plays today.”
Morrow, who was a high-schooler at Carrollton Newman Smith, played at Bacone in 2008 and spent last spring at Texas-San Antonio, trying to hook up with the first-year program. He enrolled at Bacone as a junior last fall but transcript problems kept him from becoming eligible until mid-season.
“It’s been all catch-up since then,” he said. “This spring there’s been a lot of good things. At the same time there’s a lot of learning lessons and what I try to do is come out each day with a fresh page. The main thing today was we came out as a unit and hit them in the mouth.”
Sean Stewart’s 5-yard TD run made it 14-3 and Aaron McCoy’s 4-yard run made it 21-3. Minus goal posts at the newly-turfed Indian Bowl, extra-point kicks were automatic as were field goals, provided the field goal situations came in the red zone.
In all, seven quarterbacks saw some action. Karl Birkenfield, who followed Morrow on the Black team, had one interception and Isaac Twenty returned that pick 84 yards late in the second quarter for the White’s first TD.
Kuban, who led the White in rushing with 65 yards on 14 carries, made it 24-17 with his 2-yard scoring run.
Neither team scored in the second half.
Morrow rushed for 20 yards. Kuban 65 on 14 carries to lead the White team. Aaron McCoy’s 47 yards on 12 carries led the Black in rushing.
Broughton led the Black with 44 receiving yards on four catches. Vanalari Hope had five catches for 54 yards to lead the White.
Defensively, linebacker Daniel Shield led the Black and all defenders with 14 tackles and two interceptions. Defensive back Reginald Washington also had a pair of interceptions. Dwayne Smiley had one.
White defensive end Carnice Dike had two sacks.
“Our defense is pretty much intact from a year where we were in the top 16 in total defense nationally, so I want someone who isn’t going to allow us to beat ourselves,” Rubly said. “The other two guys, for all they’ve done this spring, really made some costly mistakes today.”
Bacone will report back for fall drills on July 31. Rubly is shooting for going into the Aug. 25 season opener at home against Tabor (Kan.) College with one quarterback.
“I’d love for someone to step up and say this is my job, this is my team and I’m going to take them to success,” Rubly said. “Sometimes it doesn’t happen that way and you maybe mix it up with a couple of guys. That’s not what I want, but we’ll see how the summer shakes out.”