West Jefferson remains a team “under construction.”
“We need to improve on everything,” said Buccaneers coach Cyril Crutchfield following a spring game scrimmage against Edna Karr on Tuesday at Hoss Memtsas Stadium.
“We’ve come a long way, but we still have a very long way to go. Defensively, we have to learn how to get off the field. We have to make plays and play fundamentally sound. On offense, we have to learn how to put together drives and sustain them. We’re making silly mistakes now, but we’re going to get there.”
Not without some growing pains, bumps and few bruises first.
Crutchfield, a three-time state champion coach who debuts with the Buccaneers this season following stops at St. Augustine and South Plaquemines, introduced a new offense (pro-style) and a new attitude, steepening the learning curve for returning starting quarterback Coley Ransaw and the skill position players.
It’s been a transition, evidenced by four three-and-outs in eight possessions against the Cougars, who flustered West Jefferson.
“The defense by far,” said Karr coach Brice Brown on what facet stood out. “During the scrimmage part of the game, they flew around to the ball and were disruptive. We have to do a much better job of wrapping up players and tackling, and that’s something we can’t really harp on because we’re limited in days, but it’s something we’re going to correct.”
Karr quarterback Aldon Clark can argue in favor of the offense. The junior, who amassed 1,304 passing yards and 13 touchdowns last season, picked apart West Jefferson’s secondary, finishing 13-of-17 for 257 yards and six total touchdowns.
Clark tossed touchdowns of 13, 40, 12, 11 and 22 while scrambling for a 5-yard score.
“My team did a great job today,” he said. “My offensive line held everything together and the backs and receivers made plays for me. We’re very comfortable in our ability. The team stuck together. We never divide ourselves. That’s the big thing that keeps us going.”
Added Brown: “The most impressive thing? We got him on a backside post. He stuck in, hung in the pocket and delivered a great ball while being hit by a defender. That’s something we really worked on, and something that he’s going to get better at during his maturation and developmental process at quarterback.”
Though sluggish throughout, West Jefferson’s offense capped the scrimmage strong. Ransaw called his number of a three-yard quarterback keeper for the first touchdown and then tossed a seven-yard touchdown pass for the only two Buccaneer scores.
“I challenged them. I told them: they’ve been hitting us in the mouth all day, let’s see if we can put together some drives and we got things going,” Crutchfield said.
“We received the ball twice and we scored twice so that’s encouraging. That’s something we need to build upon.”