FORT WAYNE – Unlike the regular season games, where he is perched atop the Bishop D’Arcy Stadium press box, Saint Francis offensive coordinator Pat Donley was out of the cold and wind and occasional slow flurries and called the plays from inside the box for Friday’s annual spring game.
Judging from his overheard instructions relayed onto the field, he could get into the auctioneering biz should the football gig fall through.
Let’s get moving! Let’s get moving! Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go! Donley shouted with rapid-fire verve.
And as coaxed and coached, both offensive units played with a hurry-up style as the Blue team rallied to beat the Black 24-21.
Junior running back Garrett Harvey’s 5-yard touchdown run with 1:03 remaining gave Team Blue, which included many of the projected offensive starters, the win over the Black team that had several of the defensive starters.
Starting quarterback Josh Miller got the start for the Blue team and Wesley Hunsucker got the Black team started.
The other three quarterbacks – David Yoder, Logan Rehrer and Bradley Jarzab – all got work.
Miller, whose high ankle sprain caused him to miss several games last season, played the first half only. He completed 15 of 22 passes for 101 yards, including a 17-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Knight in the second quarter.
We played the first half really well, but then we kind of fell off in the second half last year, Miller said Friday. That’s the reason for the up tempo. That way it forces us to come out and execute each play and helps us keep our focus more. I think it’s worked out real well for us.
Starting running back Antoin Campbell, who got the majority of his work in the first quarter, put the Blue team on top 7-0 with a 1-yard touchdown run. Campbell ran 13 times for 91 yards.
But Hunsucker, also in hurry-up mode, responded when he found a wide-open Cody Appenzeller for a 24-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the second quarter.
Appenzeller caught another touchdown – this one a 49-yarder from former Columbia City quarterback Logan Rehrer that tied the game at 14-all.
As the weather got more crisp, the execution wasn’t despite the continued hurry-up offense.
It’s something we’ve wanted to do for a while, Donley said. We wanted to explore it and do it right. It’s a system we’ve come up with. Schematically we’re not any different; we just wanted to have a different approach to give defenses an added thing to concern themselves with. We’re going to be difficult to prepare for and play against, and we think with our depth, our talent, this will take us to the next level. We like it so far. I’m pleased with it so far.
So far, so good.
Head coach Kevin Donley, who will oversee the defense this season, said he liked what he saw, despite the playing conditions.
The tempo is something that’s a little different, but good, Kevin Donley said. I thought it worked really well. I was real pleased with Miller’s play. Defensively we made some plays and did some good things. It was a well-balanced night.