White wins T-Day
Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 17, 2002
A 77-yard catch and run from quarterback Kacson Maddox to Chris Cox allowed Troy State White to pull out a late 28-27 victory over its Cardinal counterparts in the Trojans’ annual T-Day scrimmage on Saturday.
That, and a few timely interceptions off Cardinal starter Hansell Bearden.
The Trojans’ starting quarterback was 14-of-23 for151 yards, but tossed two picks against Troy State’s first-team defensive squad. Both were returned for touchdowns.
The Cardinal was up 14-3, when veteran cornerback Rayshun Reed took a Bearden offering 40-yards for the score with 3:50 left before half. In the third, Bearden stepped from under center and went to the opposite side of the field, where corner Freeman White took the ball 73 yards for the touchdown and cut the Cardinal’s lead to 17-15.
"You go fooling around with two cagey corners who have the ability like those two (Reed and White) have and you better watch out," said TSU head coach Larry Blakeney about Bearden’s two picks. "They’ve been waiting on that all spring long. And when Rayshun got one, you knew Freeman was wanting one to. They were sitting on it, but again, you (as a quarterback) have to see that."
Maddox answered a 1-yard plunge by Bearden with one of his own in the fourth and hit his fullback Cox on a crossing pattern two minutes later for the game winning touchdown.
Although Bearden’s day didn’t go as well as Blakeney would have liked, the head coach still likes the sophomore under center.
"Hansell’s our quarterback and someone else is going to have to rise to that level," he said. "He has a firmer grasp of everything. He’ll learn from today."
But Blakeney didn’t discount the play of his second-string either. Maddox went 6-of-12 for 112 yards, a majority of that on his final pass to Cox, while redshirt freshman Josh Russell was also impressive in one series of action. Russell was 3-of-6 for 32 yards and one touchdown in the second quarter. His 8-yard pass to Heyward Skipper put the Cardinal up 14-3 with 5:54 remaining.
"I thought Josh Russell, first of all, when he got his opportunity, he went in there and had a good drive. He’s had very little work (in the spring) and, really, has done the most with what little he’s gotten out of it," said Blakeney. "I was really proud of Josh and what he did."
While the quarterbacks were off and on, one receiver, sophomore Jason Samples, emerged as a playmaker. Samples went high between two defenders on separate occasions and hauled in deep balls thrown by Bearden. He finished with five catches on the day for 109 yards and firmly established himself as a No. 2 threat behind the Trojans’ top returning wide out, senior Heyward Skipper.
Sophomore DeWhitt Betterson carried seven times for 25 yards, but missed a majority of the game after suffering a concussion early in the first half.
Betterson, along with senior LeBarron Black, will be shouldering much of the Trojans’ running game this season with all-purpose player Demontray Carter graduated.
Offensive coordinator John Shannon said Carter’s absence made things "completely different" this spring.
"We’ve adjusted things and that’s what we’re going to have to do year-in and year-out," said Shannon. "We’re still fitting things into the personnel package that we have. We miss Demontray, but we’ve got to move on and now we’re asking these other guys to step up."