The All-City Preview is hardly your average high school football scrimmage.
It has game-like situations and game-like intensity. The latter was the quality that impressed Douglass coach Willis Alexander most in his team’s 21-0 win over John Marshall in the All-City finals Friday night at Moses Miller Stadium.
“I saw competitiveness. I saw us play through some things that we talk about all the time,” Alexander said. “This is the only time you can really work on that in a live game situation. I think we’re getting game-ready.”
The Douglass offense was able to move the ball on the ground, led by Anthony Jackson, and through the air with crisp passing from Patrick McKaufman. Defensively, the secondary came up with some big plays at crucial times, including an interception return for a touchdown by Wyoming commit Dameko Doddles.
But Alexander saw enough flaws in all areas to keep his team busy preparing for next week’s season opener vs. Northeast.
“Our secondary had a couple of busts, and we tell those guys all the time we can’t afford to make mistakes, because they turn into big plays and touchdowns,” Alexander said. “I thought we missed some blocking mistakes on offense — correctable mistakes, but mistakes. We just have to keep working to get better.”
RUNNING BACKS SHOW STRENGTH FOR JOHN MARSHALL
Reaching the finals of the All-City Preview was an accomplishment for John Marshall, and Rashaun Woods hopes it’s a sign of things to come in his second year as coach.
“We wanted to come out and win, but to get here shows me that we’re getting better at an alarming rate,” Woods said. “It wasn’t too long ago that we couldn’t win a game. We had some guys injured, and we got to see a lot of young guys play. We have so much to learn, and we’re gonna continue to get better.”
Returning running back Keyshawn Shells was used in a variety of roles, including slot receiver, on Friday, opening a spot for freshman Devonte Lee to step in at running back. Both players showed a powerful running style.
Lee had a spectacular run on a screen pass in the semifinals against Star Spencer, breaking multiple tackles on his way to a 53-yard touchdown.
SMITH, LIVINGSTON ANCHOR STAR SPENCER BACKFIELD
The Star Spencer run game won’t be a one-man show this season. Fourth-year starter Milon Smith returns, but he had plenty of help from players like Malik Livingston and Richard Maytubby, who both contributed big plays to help the Bobcats seal up third place Friday.
“It’s a talented group,” coach James Harding said. “They’re hungry and they want to play.”
CENTENNIAL’S BARNES, MORGAN HOOK UP FOR BIG PLAYS
Centennial came away with fourth place Friday night, but it revealed a big-play threat that will help to keep defensive backs on their toes this season.
Twice Friday, new quarterback Brandon Barnes hit Cory Morgan for long touchdowns, the last a 73-yarder against Star Spencer.
“We’re hoping that Cory can step up and be that type of player for us,” coach Don Willis said.