East Jackson got two touchdowns from C.J. Allen and three turnovers from its defense but dropped its lone dress rehearsal of the preseason, 20-17, to Johnson at home Thursday.
“There were a lot of positives,” first-year coach Brian Smith said. “I felt like our starters did some good things. We knew we would have some issues with the back-ups because they don’t get a lot of reps for us … but a lot of good things.” Click here for scrimmage photos.
Allen broke off a 70-yard touchdown to start the third quarter and scored on a 25-yarder to start the fourth quarter to put East Jackson up 17-13. Smith said his squad needs those kinds of explosion plays from Allen, who ran for over 100 yards.
“He’s got some speed,” Smith said. “He’s got to be our breaker guy and he’s got to have those bursts for us. So we’re going to expect that every week, and that’s what we’ve got to have to be successful.”
But Johnson — which went 2-8 last year — had the final highlight. It responded to Allen’s second touchdown with a 60-yard rushing touchdown 34 seconds later to take a 20-17 lead, and ultimately, the win.
East Jackson’s only other points came from Nick Alvarado, who booted a 45-yard field goal with five seconds left in the first half to get the Eagles on the scoreboard.
Defensively, defensive back Trent Dowdy picked off two passes, while East Jackson also recovered a fumble.
“I was proud of them,” Smith said of his defense. “It’s hard to play a wing-T team that runs the option when you hadn’t really scouted for them. Against us (in practice), our defense is seeing spread all the time and these cats are coming in here running wing-T, buck sweep and running a little option. So it’s a little different scheme.”
Smith, whose team is breaking in a no-huddle scheme, pointed to one aspect offensively that can’t be overlooked.
“We scored,” Smith said. “We didn’t get shutout, so that’s a positive offensively.”
East Jackson opens up its season in two weeks against White County on the road. Smith said he and his staff will dissect the scrimmage film and try to build off that.
The Eagles will also have a few more players at their disposal than they did for the Johnson scrimmage.
“We’ll have a few more guys available — due to some missed practices and things like that — for White County,” Smith said. “And maybe (Jacob) Abernathy, who’s been hurt. He’ll practice (this) week, so hopefully we’ll get him back on the OL (offensive line), so we’ll see how it goes.”
East Jackson and White County, 9-3 a year ago, were to trade film over the weekend. That means the teams will have plenty of time to scout each other for the Aug. 26 opener in White County.
“They’ll have us figured out, we’ll have them figured out … So it’s that time of year,” Smith said. “It’s time to play ball.”