On Thursday night, pads were cracking, coaches were hooting and hollering, and players were protecting, catching and carrying a pigskin on the gridiron as Heritage High School held their annual spring football game, which was actually a controlled scrimmage.
While an official score wasn’t kept, the Generals were able to score offensive touchdowns off a 45-yard connection from Nick Hanson to Ryan Carter on the fourth play of the game and a Lavarius Hood two-yard touchdown scamper.
Heritage Coach E.K. Slaughter said he was looking to acclimate soon-to-be freshman quarterback Nick Hanson—who started the game—to his spread system.
“Nick is a young kid that is super talented,” Slaughter said. “I was trying not to do too much with him, but I was trying to get him to use his ability because he is a really talented kid. I was trying to get him settled in and have some fun. We have been meeting with Nick since he was in seventh grade. He’s been spending time and meeting with me. He’s a good kid that works hard, so my goal for him was to let him have some success and just try to find some things that are easy for him to do and not ask too much of him, and he did a good job. He made some audibles, made a couple checks, made some good throws, made some good reads and I was really happy with him.”
The annual game was hosted at Heritage High School and featured the Generals taking on the Dalton Catamounts. Both teams’ offenses would rotate in and out after about 10 to 12 plays, operating in four 12-minute quarters as the coaching staff would coordinate instructions with players in the middle of the field just before each play.
When players gleaned chances to prove themselves, they executed big plays, even though some key players were still absent due to partaking in the Heritage baseball season—a year that ended in the Final Four. One key player absent from the spring scrimmage was Blake Bryan, who will compete with Hanson for the starting quarterback job throughout the summer.
For those present, however, huge plays were executed on both sides of the ball. Carter was able to snag a pick-six off Dalton starting quarterback J.P. Tighe with 11:22 left in the third quarter.
“He was a kick safety on that side,” Slaughter said. “It was a just a little under thrown ball and he broke at it and scored.”
Aside from the interception, he said he is really bedazzled with how the team is performing as a unit defensively.
“I thought we flew around to the ball really well,” Slaughter said. “I tried to get to them to run more and move more, and I thought we really did a good job of penetrating. There a good football team and they are really well coached. We weren’t coming out trying to keep score we were coming out trying to work on stuff and it was a good night.”
Meanwhile, the Catamounts, a team that made it to the Class AAAAAA Final Four of the state playoffs last season, were able to score six from a Tighe 47-yard touchdown pass to Chandler Starks with 5:39 left in the first quarter. Their second touchdown came as Tighe launched a 72-yard touchdown strike to Aaron Fraire.
Even though the Catamounts had a few big plays resulting in touchdowns, Dalton coach Matt Land said the Generals were a worthy opponent.
“They do a great job of running to the ball,” Land said. “They have great playmakers. In their classification I think they're outstanding. I think they should fare well this year and do very well.”
With a Class AAAA second-round playoff appearance just last year, the Generals will gear up for next season—prepare in workout sessions and film study throughout the summer—and try and do a little bit better for the 2017 season.