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Devil ‘swat’ team hammers Hornets

Devil ‘swat’ team hammers Hornets
Devil ‘swat’ team hammers Hornets

South Fulton’s JaQuay Garmon unloads a pass during the Red Devils’ scrimmage on Tuesday.
MEDINA — It’s highly unlikely Kelly Spivey could’ve scripted South Fulton’s spring football practice any better.
The Red Devil head coach checked off many of the penned entries on his to-do list after watching his troops have their way with South Gibson Tuesday in a scrimmage that signaled the end of the spring ritual.
South Fulton scored nine times in all vs. a Hornet program still in its infancy stages and yet to participate in a varsity season. SG managed three touchdowns — one of those a defensive score and another when reserves for both teams were finishing up the session.
The Devil varsity accounted for four TDs, three on long runs by Chance Barnes and the fourth a quick-strike scoring pass covering 70 yards from JaQuay Garmon and Khiry Lewis.
SF’s first-team defense gave up just one touchdown, that at the end of South Gibson’s longest sustained drive of the scrimmage that lasted more than two hours.
“It certainly will be a shot in the arm for us going into our offseason workouts,” Spivey said of his team’s effort and performance. “As much as anything, it will instill some much-needed confidence.
“I feel that we got a lot accomplished.”
The coach, who has piloted the Red Devils to consecutive six-win seasons in his two years at the helm and directed South Fulton to its first playoff victory in nine years last fall, had praise for several individuals for both their winter workout ethic as well as their play in Tuesday’s scrimmage.
He had the highest compliments, however, for his offensive line and for the apparent cohesiveness of the unit as a whole.
“We lost most all of our offensive linemen to graduation from last year’s team, and our bunch in the trenches really has turned what a lot of people thought was a question mark into a solid area,” said Spivey, who singled out Marcus Wade in particular, calling him “a one-man wrecking crew.”
“The whole group made great strides with their offseason workouts and today they hustled and stayed with their blocks on most every play. They just did a lot of things right.
“And I’m not sure I’ve been around a better group or a harder working bunch in my 15 years. I do believe we’re all on the same page.”
The coach also had compliments for several individuals, including running back/defensive back J.P. Fowler and Garmon, both of whom gained valuable seasoning as freshman starters last fall.
“J.P. has just been outstanding, and he was really a ringleader defensively at the start of the scrimmage today,” Spivey insisted. “And JaQuay (Garmon), I told him I needed him to be confident, to be coachable and to be hungry this spring. And he was all of them and had a very good day today, too.”
A number of younger South Fulton players showed promise when given playing time on Tuesday.
Harrison Hawks — one of several freshmen-to-be to see action — caught a perfect spiral from Garmon and raced 70 yards to paydirt, while classmate Kyle Watkins broke loose for a long TD gallop covering 70 yards and also set up a short scoring plunge by Blake Boley. Upcoming ninth-grader Tymaine Strickland had a 35-yard touchdown run, and another future frosh, Skylar Britt, reached paydirt from in-close.
Defensively, SF forced four turnovers against the Hornets, including interceptions by Fowler and Taverius James, and a fumble recovery by Willie Kneuppel, who also had a bushel full of tackles after finishing strong last season.
Garmon had the hustle play of the day for the Redmen and accounted for his team’s fourth takeaway as he chased down a South Gibson ballcarrier after a long run and made a strip and a fumble recovery in the endzone to thwart a possible Hornet TD.
Though thoroughly pleased, Spivey was quick to point out there was still plenty of room for improvement heading into the 2010 campaign for the Big Red.
“We have to get stronger in the weight room and have to learn to finish plays,” he said.
“I do believe we have a chance to surprise some people, but we’ve got a lot of work to do still, to be where I want us to be and where I believe we can be.”
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at mhutch@ucmessenger.com.

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