WARREN — The Warren Lumberjacks defeated the Stuttgart Ricebirds 20-0 in a scrimmage game at Jim Hurley Stadium on Monday night.
With both teams having high expectations this year, Warren picked to win the 4A and Stuttgart the defending 4A champion, both teams showed what they are capable of doing.
“We did some things well. We did some things not very well. Warren’s a good football team,” Stuttgart coach Billy Elmore said. “I think if you take some of the JV stuff out, I think it would have been 14-0.”
It didn’t take Warren long to find the back of the end zone. On the Lumberjacks’ first possession from their own 30-yard line, quarterback Drake Jones found a wide-open Kaleel Thomas who was able to sneak behind the Ricebirds defenders for an easy catch-and-run into the end zone.
“We gave up on the blown coverage of the first play of the game. That’s stuff we have to fix,” Elmore said.
Warren head coach Bo Hembree was pleased with what he saw from the scrimmage but also saw where corrections needed to be made.
“Up front we have to improve some. We got a couple of guys out right now that we need to get back. I thought both quarterbacks played well at times. We just have to keep getting better and improving,” Hembree said.
After both teams traded possessions for a while, Warren struck again with a 17-yard run from Chris Oliver. After a while, the two teams played two 10-minute periods of game simulation with special teams and all.
The Ricebirds struggled to get any real momentum during the two periods as the Lumberjacks’ defense stood strong. Warren added another touchdown when running back Kilay Cox ran from 6 yards out.
With Warren picked to win the 4A title, Hembree believes there isn’t any added pressure to his team, but improving every week is what is most important.
“We just got to get better every week. I think we got a little ways to go, but we got better tonight. Our kids understand that… and we just have to worry about us and have to come back and improve. We got to come back Wednesday and watch film and then get better from that,” he said.
For Stuttgart, Elmore knows a target is on the back of the Ricebirds being the defending champions, but it doesn’t faze his kids any.
“There’s no doubt. There’s a target on our back, but our expectations are the same every year in Stuttgart whether you’re the defending 4A state champs or whether you went 7-3 the year before. There are a lot of expectations on this team, but there are a lot of expectations on every team, so I don’t know if the target is any bigger on our back from the teams that we’ll play, but the expectations haven’t changed for our program.”