By MIKE HUTCHENS
Messenger Sports Editor
Scrimmaging with less than a full deck against reigning Class 5A state champion Henry County brought about the expected results for Obion Central.
The Rebels were missing a handful of projected starters due to illness — more specifically a bout with mono that riddled the program in the days prior to Friday night’s 90-minute session against a HC team that appears to be in a reload mode after losing more two dozen seniors off last year’s unbeaten 5A state title squad.
And though OC struggled to mount any consistency on offense while giving up five touchdowns in all on defense vs. the big-play Pats, Central head coach Shawn Jackson was not displeased afterward with his team’s effort.
“I was proud of us physically, probably prouder than I was last year when we played them close and they went on to have the season they had,” said Jackson, whose squad was missing starting running back Bryce Warner, veteran lineman Drew Hayes and receiver Josh Floyd, among others. “We’re had so much sickness this week, we were just trying to piecemeal a team and had to play several people out of their natural positions.
“It’s tough to really evaluate yourself against somebody like Henry County, because they’re so good. Sometimes you can be in a good position, but their athleticism just allows them to make plays anyway. We have a long way to go in some areas and not so far in others.”
Breaking in a new quarterback, HC got snaps for both Storme Hilliard and Colton Randolph and each led the Pats to a pair of scores.
Obion Central’s best plays offensively came on a couple of intermediate completions from QB Blake Berner — the longest to Blake Rudd.
Berner, a sophomore who is in line to take the reins from record-setting all-stater Trey Phipps, took the majority of snaps in OC’s shotgun set.
Senior Alec Reynolds and freshmen Cane Aaron and Nathan King also got brief looks at QB.
The Rebs, who lost the bulk of their skill position players off last season’s nine-win team, were stuffed on most of their run plays, but did get a couple of nice gainers in the scrimmage — one from Jake Curlin, the other by freshman Jacob Hyde.
“Even though we did not move the ball like I would’ve liked, we didn’t turn it over either,” Jackson added. “We’ve had to change some things from what we’d originally planned to do, and right now we’re just trying to get all of our base stuff in.”
Central will have essentially a dress rehearsal for its Aug. 17 Week 0 opener at Union City when it faces Camden in the Pepsi Mid-America Challenge jamboree at Henry County High School this Friday at 6 p.m.
“Hopefully, we’ll have everybody well and back for that. It’s important for us to have that happen as much as it is for us to look good in the jamboree,” Jackson concluded. “I do think we’ll be ready to roll when it comes time to play for real.”
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com.
Published in The Messenger 8.6.12