The Carver football team had its moments, but it was Central that came out with the more impressive performance on Thursday at Garrett-Harrison Stadium in the annual scrimmage between the two teams.
The Red Devils picked up a 27-14 win over the Tigers in a tune-up for the regular season that featured a couple new quarterbacks, a new head coach and a slew of potential college talent.
Central coach Woodrow Lowe put the game in perspective, though.
“It doesn’t count,” he said simply. “We’ve got to look at the film after this, and then I’ll be able to make an assessment.”
If Central coaches had any worries about new quarterback Ethan Baber or an offensive line that had to replace two key members from the 2012 unit, those were alleviated right away by a 70-yard touchdown drive on the team’s first possession.
Running back Kenneth Thomas had a 40-yard run on the drive and Traveon Samuel carried on four of the final five plays to punch it in and give the Red Devils an early 7-0 lead.
In less than five minutes, Central had regained possession after a fumble on a bad snap. Facing a fourth and 10 from the Carver 32, Baber showed his command of the offense with a 32-yard touchdown pass to Khaled Berklin. On the play, Carver’s secondary bit on a play fake, allowing Berklin to slip in behind them, and Baber floated the pass right to his target for the score.
“(Baber) is doing everything he’s been taught to do,” Lowe said of his quarterback. “We’re trying to put him in good situations where he can do some good things.”
Baber praised his whole team’s preparation and said the scrimmage has given him a lot to work from going forward.
“Coming into this game, I knew I could do it,” he said. “It was just a matter of doing it.”
Baber finished 6 of 10 for 68 yards and a touchdown pass in the game.
While Samuel is the most heralded of Central’s offensive stars, running back Ryan Humphrey showed his athleticism on a 75-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. Breaking a tackle, Humphrey found a gap in the secondary and exploited it, blowing away the Carver defenders for the score. He finished with 92 rushing yards on eight carries in the game.
“He’s got some speed,” Lowe said of Humphrey. “All he needs to do is get in the open and he can do some things.”
Overall, Kegler wasn’t pleased with the play of his team, particularly on defense, citing a handful of mental mistakes that cost them.
Still, the unit tightened up for the rest of the time the first-teamers were on the field, allowing just a couple field goals, and the offense showed signs of life against the stingy Red Devils defense.
Tigers quarterback Jawon Pass, a 6-foot-5 sophomore starting his first game, showed an early command of the offense. Despite some shaky moments early, he hit receiver Nate Barley for 31- and 8-yard passes to begin a scoring drive in the second quarter. Pass finished that drive with a 1-yard dive up the middle to get Carver’s first points and cut the deficit to 21-7.
Cramping forced Pass out of the game midway through the third quarter, but he came back in on the drive to complete a 3-yard touchdown pass before limping off the field for good. He finished his day 8 of 11 for 72 yards and a score to go with his rushing touchdown.
“He’s a tough kid,” Kegler said of Pass. “He did some good things. He didn’t turn the ball over.”
Running back Fred Coleman added big runs of 20, 39 and 16 yards to finish the day with 75 on the ground. Noah Hickey carried 11 times for 44 yards.
Follow David on Twitter @leprepsports and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ledgerenquirersports