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New wave of Rebels tie old-school Ponies

New wave of Rebels tie old-school Ponies
New wave of Rebels tie old-school Ponies

Obion Central’s Trey Phipps hands off to LaDevin Fair during the Rebels’ scrimmage tie on Friday.
While it was officially listed as Huntingdon against Obion Central, it could just as easily been dubbed ‘old-school vs. new-wave.’
The Mustangs and Rebels displayed contrasting offensive styles at Friday’s spring football scrimmage at Paul Ward Stadium — their exactly-opposite philosophies essentially serving as an exhibition of the evolution of sport from early times until the present.
Huntingdon, long a smash-mouth running team, operated from the elementary single-wing set during the 90-minute session, while OC employed formations regularly using four and five receivers, consistent with many of today’s schemes that are heavy with the pass.
Both proved to be effective Friday.
Each team scored twice in action between first-teamers on a sloppy turf that absorbed over an inch of rain in 30 or so minutes before the scrimmage.
Ironically, though Central steadily moved the ball with passes from southpaw quarterback Trey Phipps to a variety of receivers, it scored its two touchdowns on runs by Fulton County transfer LaDevin Fair covering 25 and 35 yards.
Fair, a promising junior-to-be scatback, enrolled at OCHS in the winter after his father, Ronnie, was hired as a paraprofessional coach by Rebel skipper Shawn Jackson. The elder Fair had served in a similar capacity at FC.
Huntingdon, meanwhile, which was missing starting QB Bam Melton among several regulars still involved with the Mustang baseball program, unveiled its throw-back alignment that head coach Eric Swenson says will be used as his base set this fall.
The Ponies used the direct snap offense to twice put together long and methodical 70-yard scoring drives vs. the Rebs without attempting a pass, They, in fact, threw only two times the whole scrimmage — on the first and last plays of the session.
Huntingdon scored once more with Obion Central reserves seeing action.
For his part, OC’s Jackson was pleased.
“For us to come out here after only four days and to play in these conditions and just turn the ball over one time is outstanding,” the OC coach claimed. “I thought we moved the ball well both throwing and running, and we’re going to have to make teams respect that we can do both in order to be successful next fall.
“Defensively, our kids have obviously never seen anything like the single-wing. Still, I thought we adjusted and played physical with them.”
Jackson, whose troops will conclude their spring practice on Saturday night with what’s billed as ‘Spring Fling’ when the Rebs will host Lake County after the OCSS feeder programs play at 6, said scrimmaging programs like the tradition-rich Mustangs is good for his team.
“They (Huntingdon) expect to win every time they suit up, and they’re going to hit you in the mouth from start to finish. We’ve got to expect that and not back down when we play folks. I thought we stood up today, and hit back. And that was encouraging,” he said.
“We’ve got some kids who can catch the ball like Tanner Cary, Steven Weaks and Mason McGrew, and you saw what (LaDevin) Fair brings to the table. Just as important, we’re replacing four starting offensive linemen from a team that won six games last year and went to the playoffs. And I thought Spenser Maloney and Tyler Tankersley had outstanding days.”
Jackson also revealed he’d hired a new defensive coordinator to replace Kevin Gulta, who is leaving OC for a job at Kenwood. Greg Fowler, a prep coach from Florida, is expected to be on the job in Troy sometime in June, according to Jackson.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at mhutch@ucmessenger.com.

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