Billies work out kinks, top Dumas
The Monticello football team hosted Dumas for a scrimmage Monday, August 24, and worked out some kinks in the final tune-up before the regular season.
The Billies turned in a solid second half after a slow start, eventually earning a 27-19 win. The starters were supposed to take a seat after halftime, but MHS coach Van Paschal said he and Dumas coach Mark Courtney weren't yet satisfied.
The only score of the first half came on a 1-yard run by Monticello fullback Caleb Bryant in the opening quarter. Both teams moved the ball well at times, but promising drives fizzled in opposing territory more than once.
"We weren't very happy with what we did (in the first half)," Paschal said. "Coach Courtney wanted to go with the first bunch another quarter, and I'm glad he did. We got back in there and executed some stuff."
After leading 6-0 at halftime, the Billies were able to stretch their advantage to 13-0 on a 28-yard TD pass from Joe Carmical to Brishen Mathews late in the third quarter.
Just three plays later, Jordan Tilley scooped up a fumble and returned it 30 yards for a touchdown and a 20-0 lead.
Tilley's fumble recovery was one of five turnovers forced by the MHS defense, which limited the Bobcat first team to six points. A 10-yard run by Dumas quarterback Darion Griswold with a minute to play in the third quarter trimmed the margin to 20-6 entering the fourth.
Brishen Mathews had a pair of interceptions for Monticello, while Mike Sawyer and Ryan Shaw each recovered a fumble.
The Billies also put the ball on the ground several times but lost only one fumble. Paschal said the miscues were likely due to timing errors in Monticello's option game.
"When you're running the option, you have to mesh," Paschal said. "It's all about execution and steps. I'll have to look at the film, but I'm going to guess we got a little fatigued and didn't take our proper steps."
The pace of both offenses picked up a bit once the reserves came on in the fourth quarter. A 50-yard run by Dumas backup QB Trey Winchester pulled the Bobcats within 20-12 early in the period, but the Billies went ahead 27-12 just three plays later on a 7-yard run by Tre Hawkins. The score was set up by a 52-yard jaunt by Greg Patterson on the previous snap.
Winchester threw a 7-yard TD pass to Dimitri Dantzler that cut the margin to 27-19 with just over 5 minutes to play, but Monticello was able to burn the rest of the clock, eventually driving to the Dumas 24 behind sophomore QB Jordan Frazier.
Afterward, Paschal indicated the scrimmage served its purpose.
"This is why you play somebody else - to see where you're at," he said. "I think we'll see a lot of good things (on film), and of course we've got a lot of things we need to fix."
The 2009 season opener against DeQueen is set for 5:30 p.m. Monday, August 31, at Arkansas-Pine Bluff's Golden Lions Stadium. The game is the first of six scheduled for Simmons First/Hootens.com Kickoff Week.