DENTON - In the world of scrimmages, typically too much can't be made of the results and keeping the score is often a fruitless exercise, but for the North Crowley Panthers establishing an identity and building confidence is paramount and scrimmages like Friday's tussle with Denton Ryan can be building blocks.
New Denton Ryan HC Dave Hennigan had a relaxed attitude about the scrimmage going in and commented "We don't plan on showing too much, we just want to see some guys get some reps and see how they do in competitive situations." For the most part Ryan's young football team had that type of business-like attitude, not getting too high or too low about anything in the scrimmage. Several key players for Ryan saw little to no action on Friday.
The exact opposite can be said for North Crowley who showed up fired up and with a chip on their shoulder after a tough first season under HC Eugene Rogers. The Panthers flew around on both sides of the ball, their coaches were into it and boisterous and for a lack of a better term, played with more intensity in the scrimmage. Coach Rogers prior to the festivities said "It's a great challenge to play a consistent playoff winner like Ryan, they have a lot of great players, coaches and tradition. We are trying to get to that level so even in a scrimmage it's important for us to go out and compete hard and build a winning attitude."
The scrimmage started out with each team's first and second offense getting ten plays each, then the third teams went eight plays and the first team going eight plays again before one live quarter. Neither first offense did much, but Denton Ryan did have a surprise as freshman QB Spencer Sanders took the first team reps and looked impressive. The coaching staff only had him throw safe passes with no reads, but his mechanics and arm strength are very good, he moves well and despite not being able to run, it's easy to see he's going to be a threat running the football. Both teams did manage a score on the third team's as North Crowley scored on a long touchdown pass, while a long pass set up Ryan's score.
The live quarter saw North Crowley's defense play extremely well containing the Ryan offense at every turn, led by big senior DL Robert Brown. Tthe Panthers offense got the lone score of the quarter as senior QB Given Tippenhill hooked up with Rodney Stewart for a long touchdown. After the scrimmage, North Crowley HC Eugene Rogers repeated what he said before the scrimmage, "I think we did some good things today, still a long way to go but the kids are buying in and I think if we can continue to improve we'll surprise some people." The two 6A schools will be in scrimmage action again next week with Denton Ryan taking on Grapevine and North Crowley hosting South Garland.