Watson Chapel coach George Shelton saw both positive and negative aspects of Tuesday’s scrimmage game against Forrest City at Wildcat Stadium.
Without the 34-14 win being one of the positives, Shelton was pleased with the defensive unit that created seven turnovers and two scores.
“We try to be aggressive on defense,” Shelton said. “We don’t have great size so we try to use our quickness. The best way to use your quickness is to have some movement up from and move your linebackers. For a moment there we weren’t actually attacking them. We kind of went into attack mode and maybe caught them off-guard.
He was not pleased with the 13 penalties for more than 100 yards.
“You’ve got some individual things, a play here or a play there,” Shelton said. “But overall through the length and breadth of the game it’s got to be significantly better. But it’s preseason and a preseason scrimmage game. There were far too many penalties, obviously. And we’ve got to improve our kicking game. We’ve got to sharpen up there.”
The Wildcats wasted no time denting the scoreboard after forcing a fumble on Forrest City’s initial possession. After Joshua Harris jumped on the loose ball, junior Devonte Battles picked up 23 yards on three carries and Tevon Jones caught a 35-yard touchdown pass from Kris McCullough, the first of three on the night for the junior quarterback.
“He was OK all in all,” Shelton said of McCullough. “He didn’t do a bad job. We really tried later on in the game to bear down on our run game. We have some young kids up front on the offensive line and this was their first time under the lights in a varsity game.”
McCullough finished 7-of-13 for 130 yards with two interceptions.
The line fared well, allowing eight different backs to accumulate over 150 yards on the ground, led by Battles with 50 yards on seven carries. The Cats were without senior running back James Collier, who is temporarily sidelined with a tweaked hamstring.
McCullough spread the ball well, finding five different receivers. But he didn’t show great arm strength and depended on his receivers to take balls away from defenders.
“We caught the ball pretty well,” Shelton said. “William Townsel made a significant play, Kirel Young impressed us and Justin Jones showed flashes. We just need more consistency out of him. And we played Jordan Stargell on defense.”
Stargell did catch a touchdown pass, an interception he returned 60 yards for Watson Chapel’s second touchdown. Quentin Douglas scored the other defensive touchdown, a fumble recovery that he caught out of mid-air and returned 20 yards to the end zone.
“We have five seniors in secondary,” Shelton said. “We felt pretty good about them. Forrest City is certainly not the challenge we will see in terms of an offensive attack next week against Siloam Springs.”
Forrest City coach Rich Trail said the Mustangs gave Watson Chapel too many opportunities, especially in the first half.
“I thought once we started playing some football we did pretty good,” Trail said. “I told them the first half was a disaster for us as far as mistakes go. Not taking anything away from Watson Chapel, they are a very good football team. But when you make mistakes against a good football team they are going to make you pay for it. I felt like we gift-wrapped some things for them in the first half.”
Shelton said the Wildcats would return to the practice field in an effort to clean up their game before venturing to Fayetteville on Aug. 30 to play Siloam Springs at the University of Arkansas.