RICHMOND – The Powhatan Indians scrimmaged the hosting Collegiate Cougars through a mix of weather patterns. At times, the sweltering heat was inescapable. And then at times, the hot sun hid behind an incoming cluster of storm clouds, and a much-welcomed breeze passed through.
For the Indians, takeaways from how they did that Friday were similar. At times, they showcased flashes of things that were very encouraging to Powhatan head coach Mike Henderson and his coaching staff – a touchdown catch here, an interception there. And then at times, they made mistakes.
“Almost all the mistakes we made were fixable,” Henderson pointed out, “so we’re happy with that – and at the same point, we made way too many of them.”
Henderson wants to see his players improve upon their consistency, on their assignments and on ball security going into this coming Thursday’s home scrimmage versus Atlee.
Going into Friday’s preseason matchup, Henderson wanted to see his team be physical.
“And for the most part, I thought we played pretty physical, so I was pretty happy with that,” Henderson said. “Obviously first week, a lot of mistakes that we’ve got to fix, but I think 90 percent of the teams are kind of in that boat right now. It’s our first live action against somebody different, seeing somebody going full-speed. It’s hard to simulate that in practice no matter how good you are on offense and defense. The game sped up a little bit, and sometimes we responded to it; sometimes we didn’t.”
There were good plays to be had on offense. Jaysun Carroll caught a short pass in the end zone for a touchdown, and track star Anthony Greenhow was able to turn another short pass over the middle into a 55-yard gain on a huge run down the left sideline.
Henderson observed that sophomore Hans Rehme played well in the quarterback position, and junior Aaron Nash was also able to showcase his athleticism while playing under center. Nash followed-up Greenhow’s incendiary catch-and-run play with a sweeping rush around the right side for a five-yard TD. Before that, he unleashed a successful 22-yard, out-of-pocket pass down the right side while staying on the move.
“He showed a lot of flashes – that’s what we like about him out there,” Henderson said of Nash. “He’s got a lot of talent; he’s fun to work with.”
But Henderson saw that the players also need to clean up some things – they left some points on the field a couple times – and he spoke to the team keeping the best plays where they’re at while also eliminating and/or fixing some of the negative plays he saw in the scrimmage.
On the defensive side, both the front line and the secondary should be strengths for the Indians, Henderson pointed out, and Powhatan’s first defense made big plays across the field on Friday. On that side, the Indians this season expect to be led by 6-1 senior inside linebacker T.J. Gates – whom Henderson said is “very solid in all facets of the game” – 6-0 sophomore defensive tackle Wyatt Lowe, 6-3 senior defensive tackle Cameron Arnold, 6-4 senior defensive end Brien Clay, 6-0 senior defensive end Tyler Hall, 6-1 junior defensive back Aaron Nash, 5-10 junior defensive back Anthony Greenhow, 6-2 junior defensive back Jaysun Carroll and 6-0 senior defensive back Tristen Bradley.
During a goal-line situation in the scrimmage, Clay shot up the middle and brought down the quarterback for a sack.
“Brien made some nice plays at defensive end – it was his first time playing for us – new kid, just moved in,” Coach Henderson said. “We’re really happy with what he did.”
Both Greenhow and Carroll had multiple plays where they successfully defended against the pass. During a dash to the right corner of the end zone, Greenhow turned his head in time to shut down the route and defend against the pass intended for the receiver he was covering. A couple players later, Carroll – in just about the same place – dashed into the picture as Greenhow defended the receiver and corralled the airborne ball for an interception.
“For the most part I think that they really held up pretty well in the back end,” Henderson said of the secondary.
Powhatan will continue to strive for consistency when it hosts Atlee in another scrimmage this coming Thursday (Aug. 29) at Powhatan High School. Scrimmage start time is currently slated for 7:30 p.m.