Champions look strong in first scrimmage

Sunday, August 2, 2009
Cascade linebacker Anthony McPheron makes a tackle behind the line of scrimmage. (T-G Photo by Danny Parker)

SMITHVILLE -- It's that time again.

Since they were unable to get a scrimmage in during spring practice, it had been quite awhile since Cascade was able to bang on a team of opposing colors, making Friday night's scrimmage at DeKalb County a welcome sight.

The void left by the graduation of 11 seniors off the 2008 team that went 12-1 and won the Region 5-A title was hardly recognized as the Champions defeated DeKalb County 45-32.

The Tigers, who went 9-3 in Region 4-3A last season, were a formidable test as a team that made it to the second round of the state playoffs before falling to White House 42-20.

"We got some good work and nobody got hurt," Cascade coach Kenny Parker said. "We had some kids that stepped up and played well for us."

Smith County scores a touchdown late in the scrimmage. (T-G Photo by Danny Parker)

Sophomore quarterback Jared Carkuff showed some rust at different points by sailing throws over targets but impressed both sides by rolling to his right and threading the needle with a 39-yard touchdown to senior tight end Michael Martin for the first Cascade score.

Senior defensive end Jordan Lacey came up with consecutive sacks when the Tigers got the ball back, helping force a three-and-out.

Matt Henderson's 17-yard burst set up a 1-yard TD plunge for Trey Davidson.

DeKalb County quarterback Hunter Poteete showed why he's one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the state. Last season the 5-foot-11, 185-pound right-hander threw for 2,775 yards and 37 TDs while running for 892 yards and nine more scores.

Poteete threw a TD pass on their opening drive and hit Sonni Young from 11 yards out and Zack Taylor from 39 yards away for two more trips to paydirt.

Cascade wide receiver Gerald 'Happy' Johnson cradles in a 9-yard touchdown pass from Jared Carkuff. (T-G Photo by Danny Parker)

While the Cascade defense struggled at times corralling Poteete and Co., the offense rarely missed a beat.

Carkuff dropped in a touch pass to the back of the end zone to senior receiver Gerald "Happy" Johnson. Senior wing back Ricky Hord's 42-yard scamper set up a Henderson 2-yard TD dive.

Cascade had little drop off when the second unit entered. Sophomore tailback Peyton Sutton showed some explosion en route to TD runs of 10 and 15 yards. Sophomore safety Travis Madgett unleashed a bone-jarring hit to cause a fumble just as the Tigers were going in for a score. Senior linebacker Kyle Saylor picked off a pass in his first game action in years.

Tiger Zack Taylor gets behind the Champion defense for a 47-yard touchdown reception. (T-G Photo by Danny Parker)

"(Assistant) coach (Jake) Tyre has done a good job with them in the weight room and our coaches have pushed them in the offseason," Parker said. "Our offseason is the reason we were able to do this tonight. We averaged 36 kids in the weight room every time we opened the door this summer. We've got 51 kids on our team, 40 of them were in the weight room over 20 times this summer. It's just paid off."

Senior wide out Tyler Bowen hauled in a 5-yard slant pass from Carkuff for their final score.

Dylan Freeney's 47-yard run and a Poteete 1-yard scramble gave DeKalb County their remaining points.

Cascade trips to Fairview for their next scrimmage on Tuesday night at 7.