|08/14/18 - |
That describes the 2018 Cougar Preview — the Ada High football team’s annual Maroon and White scrimmage, held Saturday evening before a good crowd at Norris Field.
Ada’s varsity players saw just a few series, but it was enough for coaches to get a chance to see what the Cougars could do in a game-like setting.
“We have a lot of plays to evaluate from, which is really, really good,” said Ada head coach Chris Berus. “Because we’re so inexperienced in a lot of places, the only way you’re really going to evaluate is running against live bullets. There was a lot of good competition out there.”
Berus said he liked a lot of what he saw, especially for it to be so early in fall camp.
“With it only being the second day in pads, I can’t be any more pleased with what we did. We just have a lot to learn. We’re making a lot of busts right now, which is somewhat natural with the early stage of a new offense,” he said.
Ada’s three starting quarterback candidates all got some reps in during the varsity portion of the scrimmage and all looked good at times in the new two-back, spread offense installed by offensive coordinator Tyler Dorton.
Ada’s defense was sound for the most part. Berus said that unit is a little ahead of the game at this point.
“Our defense flew around. You can tell that our defense is really seasoned. Our kids chased the ball and finished well when they got there,” Berus said. “We’re just behind the 8-ball a little bit from an offensive standpoint, but we’re going to get there because our kids desire to.”
A few highlights of the scrimmage action were as follows:
• Ada junior defensive lineman Teagin Rogers got free in the backfield several times and chased Cougar ball carriers around.
“We had a hard time blocking him,” said Berus. “He made a lot of plays.”
An injury kept Rogers out of action during his sophomore campaign.
“He had shoulder surgery early. He was certainly a good teammate for us last year, but never really got the chance to do much for us on the field,” Berus explained. “He had a really, really good offseason in the weight room. He’s very athletic ... and can run. He’s the type of kid that if you don’t block him, he’s going to make a play. He was in the backfield creating a lot of havoc Saturday night.”
• Kobe Burgess showed off the athleticism that makes him one of the top basketball players in the state Saturday night.
On offense, he caught a pair of 60-yard touchdown passes (the offense started at its own 40-yard line on every snap) at receiver. The first one, he got behind a defender and hauled in a slightly underthrown pass from quarterback Zac Carroll. Later, he outjumped two Ada defenders, came down with the ball around the 20-yard line and rushed toward the end zone for the score. That pass came from QB candidate Walt Labove.
Burgess also shined at cornerback for the Cougar defense. On one play, he was battling a receiver about 10 yards downfield, shook him off and swooped in out of nowhere to make a tackle for a short loss.
“He’ll go tackle you, and he’ll go catch the football. It’s a nice combination to have with a skill kid, isn’t it?” Berus said.
“I’m very proud of him. To be out of the game as long as he has, he’s taken to it really, really well,” he continued. “He’s worked his tail off in the weight room since he’s been with us ... and people got to see his athleticism at work tonight.”
• Junior running back Cameron Nichols peeled off some nice gains in the Cougar running attack Saturday. At this point in the preseason, the Ada has a number of candidates who could end up toting the rock on Friday nights.
“Cam Nichols had a pretty good scrimmage for us. We’ll see if his performance warrants him to be in that mix a little bit more,” Berus said. “We have a lot of variety in that position right now.”
• Midway through the scrimmage, Ada senior kicker Tovan “Sweet T” Thomsen was given the chance to attempt some field goals from various spots on the field. However, while doing it, the entire team and coaching staff surrounded him and wildly cheered during each try.
Thomsen nailed his final attempt from 45 yards away.
“We wanted to put Tovan in a pressure situation. It’s not game-changing, but it puts him in a pressure situation in front of a big crowd with his teammates going a little nuts,” Berus said. “He missed a few, but he nailed that 45-yarder from the right hash with room to spare. We have a weapon in Tovan Thomsen, no doubt.”
The Ada Fire Department put on a short, but impressive, fireworks display to end the Cougar Preview.
“That’s just Ada. That’s community support right there,” Berus said.
Ada travels to Midwest City at 6 p.m. Thursday to scrimmage against host Carl Albert and Deer Creek. The freshmen will kick things off at 5 p.m.
• Hungry Cougars. Fans were called upon to donate peanut butter, granola and honey to help feed the Cougars throughout the season, and quite an assortment of those goodies were collected at the gate. .