Carson-Newman offense shines in scrimmage

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. (release) -- Carson-Newman's offense proved highly efficient and effective in a preseason situational scrimmage Tuesday morning at Burke-Tarr Stadium.

The first team offense scored all seven times it touched the ball (no matter where it started on the field) against the first team defense.

"I thought the first offense had a lot of good things to happen," Carson-Newman head coach Ken Sparks said. "But you also have to remember that there's really not a first and second team set yet with how we're experimenting with players on defense. Our offensive situation is a little bit more clear. I thought the second defense did better than the first offense at times. We'll eventually get that one figured out."

Highlights from the Eagles offensive series include a 60-yard touchdown hookup between second team All-SAC quarterback De'Andre Thomas (Milledgeville, Ga.) and second team All-SAC wideout Anthony Eubanks (Gallatin, Tenn.), a 15-yard Thomas touchdown scamper and an Andy Hibbett (Corryton, Tenn.) four-yard touchdown burst.

On defense and special teams, Hasan Ali (San Antonio, Texas) performed well, blocking a kick, recovering a fumble and making two tackles for loss.

"Hasan was outstanding on the kicking game," Sparks said. "I don't know if he was doing what he was supposed to do all the time, but he was going wide open. He'll need to work on making certain he's in his assignments that way he doesn't hurt what the other 11 are trying to do."

Sparks also touted linebackers Michael Ross (Miami, Fla.) and Chris Dansby (Nashville, Tenn.) as linebackers who stepped up.

Antonio Cheatham (Memphis, Tenn.) also picked off a pass and returned it 24 yards to the opposition's three.

"This was our fourth practice in pads, so it's amazing in a way to be where we are," Sparks said. "We're close to getting everything installed that way we can get everything polished up and people in the right units ready to play."

Other offensive scoring plays during the situational scrimmage included a pair of two-yard TD runs for Thomas, a seven-yard bulldozing touchdown run by DJ Goodman and five-yard option keepers for Darvia DuBose (Darlington, S.C.) and Noah Suber (Asheville, N.C.).

However, what struck Sparks the most was the groups cohesiveness as a team.

"I told the team that I loved them at the end of the scrimmage," Sparks said. "They've done a fine job of encouraging and coaching one another."

The Eagles next scrimmage is set for Saturday, Aug. 23 at 3:10 p.m.

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