There were plenty of fireworks in the sky and on the field for Bryan and Rudder on Thursday. The teams scrimmaged as part of a community building event at Merrill Green Stadium, and head coaches Eric Ezar and Ross Rogers enjoyed the local support while learning a lot about their squads heading into Week 1 matchups.
“It was a really neat community event to have all those people there to watch our kids,” said Ezar, Rudder’s first-year head coach. “We’re coming in from Willis, my son and my family are, so it was pretty neat to see the community.”
A&M Consolidated traveled to District 8-5A Division I’s Tomball on Friday for its second scrimmage, while College Station hosted Temple, a former district rival, in its lone scrimmage Friday night.
“The main thing I liked tonight was I liked the effort,” Cougars head coach Steve Huff said. “I thought we flew around, and that’s one thing we needed to see because we do have a lot of new starters, and we wanted to see how they would respond in the situation.”
Rogers and Ezar both were happy about their defense. Rogers liked how his squad was in the right place at the right time, though he wants to see communication improve.
“You’re not going to stop every pass, but you’ve got to be there to make the tackle, and we certainly were there,” Rogers said. “And a couple times where we misread on the zone read, I thought that was something we had not seen enough of, hadn’t gone in there and worked on it enough, and it made us look bad a couple times, but I think it will make us better going down the road.”
For Rudder, Ezar thought Desmond Murphy, Tre McClenton and MJ Heard stood out.
Though Rudder made plenty of big plays, the Rangers wanted more, and Ezar was pleased with that attitude. He also like what he saw from both his quarterbacks, sophomore EJ Ezar and junior Brant Roberts, and said junior wide receiver Keithron Lee continued to perform well with five catches in the scrimmage. The Rangers moved the ball well and scored three times in goal-line situations, which gave the unit confidence, Ezar said.
“I thought that EJ Ezar ran the ball pretty well,” Eric Ezar said of his son. “He had a lot of good scrambles to get us some first downs. And Brant Roberts had a nice night throwing the football. So they kind of complement each other.”
Huff was pleased with the depth along his defensive line, which features Christian Monroe, Isaac Alvarez, Jo’Vaughn Holmes and Jaylen Davis.
The Cougars also had a strong showing from their quarterback, Austin Sosa, who showed off his mobility, complementing running backs Kolbe Cashion and Roderick Brown. He also had a strong aerial attack, connecting with sophomore wide receiver Houston Thomas on a long TD pass during the first live quarter of the scrimmage.
“The main thing I want to see out of those guys is the tempo and pace and leadership, and so all of that came to the forefront tonight,” Huff said. “I thought [Sosa] did a great job with it.”
Huff added that running backs Terry Green and Jacob Halling had good scrimmages and will provide needed depth for College Station’s two-back scheme.
The coaches also saw plenty to work on for the next week. Ezar wants to continue refining the running game and offensive line, while Rogers thinks his passing game needs to improve, though he saw good things from it early in the scrimmage. He said he likes his senior-dominated offensive line and running backs Ja’lijah Tyler and Du’wayne Paulhill and could rely on them as the passing game develops. Along with Tyler and Paulhill, defensive back Christian Richardson will have a role on both sides of the ball for the Vikings.
College Station’s season kicks off at 6 p.m. Thursday against Richmond Foster at Katy Legacy Stadium. Bryan, Consol and Rudder all start on Friday. Consol will host Killeen Ellison at 7 p.m., Rudder plays Bastrop at 7:30 p.m. at Merrill Green Stadium and Bryan travels to Waller for a 7:30 p.m. showdown.