Special to The Commercial/Bo Rogers
Pine Bluff quarterback Brandon Starks fires a pass during Friday morning’s scrimmage at Torii Hunter Field at Jordan Stadium.
The Pine Bluff High School football team went through its second scrimmage of the season Friday morning in a 130-snap performance.
Coach Bobby Bolding was pleased with the spirited outing that culminated with the ninth-grade team turning in 20 snaps as the upper-classmen observed from the sidelines.
“I thought it was better than last Friday,” Bolding said. “The exchange between offense, defense and special teams was a little better. We got on and off the field better.”
The scrimmage started at 8:30 with temperatures in the low 80s. As the scrimmage drew to a close around 10:30 the temperature had risen to the low 90s and the artificial turf surface at Torii Hunter Field at Jordan Stadium radiated the heat.
“I thought our effort was pretty good,” Bolding said. “We got a little tired on the line of scrimmage towards the end with our older guys. But they sucked it up and got through it.”
Bolding pitted the starting offense against the starting defense, with the exception of a few positions. Early on the defense won the battle up front and limited offensive production.
“Our line is getting better,” Bolding said. “That’s always the last thing to come around. But they are getting better. It just takes a little time. We’ve had some really good linemen over the past few years and we are about to have some more good ones.”
The offense did put some scoring drives together as Brandon Starks threw two touchdown passes. Starks and Rickey Clements are in a battle for the starting position while Malik Jenkins showed poise in the pocket in his reps.
“I don’t know that there was a winner at that position today,” Bolding said. “I will have to look at film and evaluate that. I thought Malik did a good job. He got in there and battled.”
Bolding said all five quarterbacks showed promise.
“You see one that will have a bad series and the next one will come in and have a good one,” he said. “Then the other one comes back in and he will be better. That just keeps going. That’s competition and I love it.”
Bolding also got a good look at special teams and newly added kicker Austin McGehee, a junior transfer from Star City.
McGehee booted a 47-yard punt on his first attempt and had two of three kickoffs reach the end zone.
“We are proud to have him,” Bolding said. “He’s doing a great job. He’s a super kid that works extremely hard. We are going to put him in some pressure situations next week.”
Pine Bluff continues its preseason schedule with practice on Monday before taking two days off. The Zebras will hit the field again Thursday and hold their final intrasquad scrimmage next Friday.
Pine Bluff’s final tune-up of the fall is Aug. 21 in a scrimmage at West Memphis before its season opener at Fort Smith Northside on Aug. 31.