Wildcats, Tigers play close spring game

Published 3:29 pm Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Varnado’s Wildcats and Independence’s Tigers took the field for their teams’ spring game Thursday night at Varnado, as fans had an opportunity to see their team in action and got a preview of the 2017 team.
The two teams ran a series of 12 offensive and defensive plays with the first stringers and 10 with the seconds. They did another series of plays, as the first and second-string players before going into a 12-minute timed quarter of action.
Each drive started at the offense’s 30-yard-line, and during the scrimmage, went back to the 30 whenever there was any play that would normally result in a change of possession.
“We’ve got to clean up some things, but you know, we had about not even 10 days to practice, so we kind of threw everything together,” Varnado coach Scott Shaffett said. “We’re kind of short coaches right now.
“We don’t have everybody coached the way we’d like them to be coached, but we’re going to get there. We’re going to get there and this program — these guys — we’re going to see a lot of success next year.”
Shaffett said the schedule is tough, but added that the Wildcats have a great chance for a solid year.
“We’re going to have to build it. It’s not going to come easy,” he said. “We’re going to have to build it because we’ve got a whole bunch of new guys on defense. I thought the offense played well. In spurts, we played really good, and at times, we looked flat, but it is the spring.
“Defense, I thought we looked good, and same thing, in spurts,” Shaffett said. “We gave up a big drive in the end that you don’t want to give to win a ballgame in a last minute situation. You don’t want to give that up, but I thought defensively, we fought. We’ve got a lot of guys going both ways and we’re going to have to change that up.”
In the controlled portion of the scrimmage, Varnado’s first stringers scored on the first possession when James Williams completed a 25-yard pass to a wide-open Desmond Harry for the touchdown.
Independence drove to the 11 and moved the ball to the 6 on first down, but the Wildcats’ defense hung tough and forced a turnover on downs on fourth down.
Varnado’s second team was unable to score, but Independence scored on a 2-yard run on third-and-1.
The only other touchdown in the controlled part of the scrimmage was a 1-yard run by the Tigers’ second-stringers late in the final drive.
Both teams scored a touchdown in the 12-minute quarter.
The Wildcats took a 6-0 lead on a 5-yard run by Jadarrell Magee on a first-and-goal play on the Wildcats’ second drive.
Independence tied the contest with 1:20 left on a 6-yard scoring run, as the Tigers were facing fourth-and-1.
Varnado is hosting Bogalusa for the teams’ fall scrimmage Aug. 17. Eight days later, the Wildcats are competing in the Washington Parish Jamboree at Franklinton. Varnado opens the regular season Sept. 1 by hosting Albany.

Varnado’s Adrian Bickham sacks Independence’s quarterback during the 12-minute period of Thursday’s scrimmage that took place at Varnado.