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The Journal Gazette

  • Photos by Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette Concordia’s Kayoni Griggs brings down East Noble’s Cheby Wright during Friday night’s scrimmage at East Noble. The regular season begins next Friday.

  • Veteran East Noble quarterback Andrew McCormick looks to pass during Friday's scrimmage in Kendallville.

Saturday, August 12, 2017 1:00 am

High School Football

Cadets have 'lot to work on'

Class 3A champs tested by veteran QB in scrimmage

AUBREE REICHEL | The Journal Gazette

KENDALLVILLE – With Concordia rebuilding in key positions, Friday's scrimmage at East Noble provided the perfect setting to determine exactly where the Cadets are as Week 1 approaches.

“We've got a lot to work on,” head coach Tim Mannigel said. “I thought defensively we played pretty well. Obviously, East Noble has a very good quarterback (senior Andrew McCormick), he's going to give a lot of teams fits. Maybe after two weeks of practice, we're not really ready to match up with him yet. I thought up front, we were OK.

“I think this scrimmage is always good for us because they're always generally pretty good. This is a team that would do well in the SAC. Playing them gives us a barometer against the teams that we'll face starting next week.”

Defending Class 3A state champion Concordia is finding a replacement for quarterback Peter Morrison, running back Peterson Kerlegrand and other key offensive positions.

“Offensively, we thought we were a little behind the defense, and I think that showed tonight,” Mannigel said. “Receivers did OK, had some dropped passes. That has to get cleaned up. I thought our quarterback threw well.

“All in all, we play guys in such a random fashion during the scrimmage that it's sometimes hard to tell exactly what you got.”

The Cadets didn't score until the 10th play of their second session with the ball but scored twice more when playing from the East Noble 35-yard line. The reserve lineup also scored twice.

Concordia split varsity quarterback duties between Jake Byrd and Jacob Doerffler as both get adjusted to getting more snaps.

“This is (Byrd's) first year in our system,” Mannigel said. “He came here from California and it's a whole different deal. He'll get better incrementally as the weeks go on, that's our hope. Doerffler was solid tonight as a backup. I think he did the things we wanted him to do. We were pleased.”

For East Noble, head coach Luke Amstutz saw evidence of a more balanced offensive attack, scoring once in its first 15-play session from its own 35, twice on its 10-play session from the 50, including a 50-yard pass to Kaiden Harshberger and scored twice more from the Concordia 35.

“We tried to keep it simple tonight and get good at our base things, and I thought we did pretty well,” he said. “The offensive line played physical and protected well, and our receivers, we had some drops and timing issues, but we're getting closer. We're better than we were a few days ago, and we'll be better next week.”

Although the Knights have the veteran McCormick returning at quarterback, they got a glimpse of who would fill the shoes of receiver Dylan Hunley.

“I feel like we're better in the run game than we were last year,” Amstutz said. “Obviously, we're trying to replace Dylan. I feel like we're a little more balanced across the board at receiver. We just have to gain experience, get some guys some touches so they feel comfortable.

“We were able to run the ball when we needed to and when we had to air it out, we could do that.

“We got a lot of people a lot of touches, we saw people in different positions that they don't normally play in and saw what they could do and I think, as a team, it went well.”

areichel@jg.net