The Mountain Hawks took the field at Goodman Stadium Saturday to play their annual spring football game between the offense and the defense.
The spring scrimmage is not played in traditional fashion. There is no running clock, and the offense starts either on the defense’s 30-yard line or their own 25-yard line. After a touchdown or turnover on downs, the team goes right back to one of those spots.
The quarterback also changes every one or two possessions, giving each quarterback on the team a chance to get plays in with the offense.
Junior Dante Perri started off the scrimmage as quarterback, and led the offense all the way to the end zone, rolling out and making a throw to junior Eric Johnson for the touchdown.
“It felt good,” Perri said. “We did exactly what we wanted to do this spring (which led to) us not making mistakes and not shooting ourselves in the foot. We had a decent spring game and I think we’re ready to take off.”
Later in the game, Perri took the offense down the field again and threw a second touchdown to senior running back Zaythan Hill, but it was nullified due to a false start call.
Hill left a mark on the box score, though, with a 50-yard rush to set up senior quarterback Nigel Summerville’s passing touchdown to junior tight end Christian Williams.
Sophomore defensive lineman Ben Murphy said the defense encountered some struggles during the game.
“There were moments where we played together and put together everything we’ve been working toward, but we definitely have some things we need to clean up in anticipation for the fall season,” Murphy said.
The defense shined throughout the game, causing multiple three-and-out possessions from the offense, including a sack to end a possession early by senior Mikhari Sibblis.
Coach Tom Gilmore said he liked the intensity throughout the game.
“This is a kind of sport where you have to be all in,” Gilmore said. “You have to play with emotion, and you have to play with passion and focus. You have to make sure you are playing hard in between the whistles. When the whistle goes, you just have to train yourself to turn it off at that point.”
After senior tight end Ian O’Connor went down with an injury due to a tough tackle from junior Liam McIntyre, the two sides cleared their sidelines.
The offense was unhappy with the way the tackle happened, leading to the skirmish.
Perri was right in the middle of the disagreement.
“We are an extremely competitive group which is overall a good thing, and at times like that it can get a little chippy,” Perri said. “Liam, love him to death, but sometimes things boil over. Me and him have gotten into it a few times during camp, and then we hug it out at the end and tell each other we love each other. That’s how the whole team works, and it’s a beautiful thing.”
Gilmore said he saw really good things from both sides of the field, and he is optimistic about the position the team is in.
Next fall, the Mountain Hawks will take on Villanova Sep. 2 on the road, before returning to Goodman Stadium for their first home game on Sep. 17 against Richmond.
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