Good start: Winamac throws 65-yard TD pass on first play of scrimmage vs. Rochester
Zebras fumble 3 times on first possession, recover to score 6 TDs
Watch Scrimmage Here:
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
WINAMAC –- The Rochester and Winamac football teams came into their scrimmage at Roudebush Field Friday from different vantage points.
The Zebras are coming off a winless season and have a new coach who has never coached a game.
The Warriors are coming off a sectional championship season and have a Hall of Fame coach and 20 seniors.
Rochester fumbled on their opening snap and fumbled twice more on their opening possession.
But they also scored four touchdowns on a possession that started from the Winamac 10-yard line, and senior Braxton Mencias had touchdown runs of 64 and 37 yards.
Winamac’s offensive highlight might have been the first play, a 65-yard touchdown pass that Russell Compton feathered to Caleb Good on a deep post route.
Both Compton and Good are seniors, but Compton is in his fourth season on the varsity while Good is a football newcomer.
“He’s been making that (throw) a long time now,” Winamac second-year coach John Hendryx, who was inducted into the Indiana Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame last month, said of Compton. “The Good kid is a new kid for us. He’s a first-year player as a senior, very athletic. It’s nice to have a kid that can run like that.”
Good isn’t the only newcomer. Xavier Holehan is a newcomer to Winamac after moving in from a high school in Texas. Tyler Perry, a senior who had a fumble recovery on defense; Jaiden Klingerman, a move-in from Plymouth who saw time at left tackle; and Ryan Gregor are also newcomers who could factor into the Winamac lineup.
“They’ve done great,” Hendryx said. “They picked up things fast. Their attitudes have been wonderful. All are really good additions. They’re all athletes.”
Jadon Jones also had a 37-yard touchdown run for Winamac.
Hendryx indicated that Winamac’s offense in the scrimmage likely will not resemble the offense they display during the regular season. For example, Hendryx did not call any running plays for Compton, an accomplished running quarterback.
“We couldn’t have been any more vanilla offensively,” Hendryx said. “That was about as vanilla as it gets. I was thrilled with the way things went.”
Rochester struggled with nerves and the speed of the game, according to first-year coach Ron Shaffer.
“We talked about that in the end zone after the game,” Shaffer said. “What we were proud about was not how we started but how we finished. We started taking care of the ball better, moving the ball. We can’t afford to have negative plays like that, and the kids know that, and it’s got to be a priority for us this week to correct. But things got corrected, kids started taking care of the ball a little bit better and had some success on offense.”
Aaron Swango and Dylan Hook saw time at quarterback. Swango has never played quarterback at the varsity level before, and Hook is a varsity newcomer. Antonio Schlosser, who has more experience at quarterback than anybody else on the roster, was used at wingback.
“Aaron did a really nice job just with his poise,” Shaffer said. “He did fumble a snap, and we did talk about how that can’t happen. Dylan, again he was nervous, and we talked about it on the sideline. As he gets more experience and more familiar with what we’re trying to do, he’s going to gain that confidence and the nervousness won’t be there.”
From Shaffer’s perspective, the Compton-to-Good deep ball was a “coverage bust.” But he said they improved after that, and he praised sophomore linebackers Alex Deming and Wes Meadows.
“And then after that, I thought we got after it and did well,” Shaffer said. “We gave up one counter, and that was just kids being more aggressive than they should have been in a situation and not relying on their reads. But after that, I thought we controlled the line of scrimmage pretty well on the defensive side.”
Hendryx said the key to the scrimmage from Winamac’s standpoint was getting out healthy. Now comes an opportunity at having a great season.
“Be better every Friday than the one before,” Hendryx said of the team’s goal. “Where it ends, it will end. But we just have to improve every week.”