The Guthrie High School football program will be banking on some experience returning this season. With their one and only scrimmage of the year completed, the Bluejays passed their first test.
“I thought the team chemistry, which has been a primary focus for us since January, was real good tonight,” Jays head coach Kelly Beeby said following the annual scrimmage with Bishop Kelley at Langston University.
“All these pups we have been playing are finally a little bit older and are handling things better.”
Kelley and Guthrie scrimmaged a total of 24 offense and 24 defensive plays before finishing the night with a 20-minute scrimmage.
Both offenses struggled in the beginning as the defenses controlled the night.
Guthrie managed 15 yards in their first 12 plays and 26 yards in the next series. Kelley, combined, was able to total up 38 yards in 22 plays.
“Early on, I think Tulsa Kelley’s defense had lot to do with our offense,” Beeby said. J.J. (Tappana) and his bunch – year in and year out – put good physical defenses on the field.”
Guthrie’s defense forced four turnovers, including interceptions from Cale Coffman and CJ Ward, and four sacks in the first two series. Kelley’s longest play from scrimmage was an 8-yard pass.
The Jays running game had a hard time getting going with 11 running plays for 26 yards.
However, the Jays offense found their groove in the time portion of the scrimmage.
After the Jays offense went three-and-out, the defense forced a fifth turnover to set the offense up at the Kelley 34-yard line.
On a third down and eight play, four-year starting quarterback Jackson Waddell found a wide open Caed Guggisberg down the far sideline for a 32-yard strike for the night’s first score.
After Kelley’s offense managed only one yard in four plays, the Guthrie offense took over from the Kelley 31-yard line with three minutes left.
On first down, Waddell tucked the ball and scampered 15 yards. Following two run plays and a Kelley penalty, the Jays called a timeout for the scrimmage’s final play from the 3-yard line.
Waddell tossed a perfect fade pass in the southwest corner and saw newcomer Tahliq Jackson haul in the score.
David Vargass connected on both extra points, including the final kick of 28 yards.
“Coach (Scott) Mick got a feel of what they were doing and dialed up some good plays,” Beeby said about the final 20 minutes.
Overall, Beeby was excited about his team’s effort and chemistry.
“All I wanted to see from our kids was the physicality and effort to the football. We got that tonight.”
In total for the night, the Jays defense held the Comets to 79 yards on 36 snaps.
Guthrie will be challenged early and often this season, including Friday night’s season opener in Enid.
The Plainsmen will highlight one of the state’s top running backs in Will Phillips, who is expected to play Division I football next season.
Game time is set for 7 p.m.
Douglass unable to attend annual scrimmage
The Douglass Trojans usually join the Jays and Comets for the annual Langston scrimmage, but the annual Oklahoma City All-City Preview was bumped up a week forcing the Trojans to miss.
“We missed Douglass here tonight,” Beeby said. “Coach Tappana and I talked about it tonight and it just wasn’t the same.”