HUNTSVILLE – The Sam Houston State Bearkats put on a show both offensively and defensively, but the defense pulled out a 58-57 win with a modified scoring system at the annual Orange-Whit Scrimmage on Friday night at Bowers Stadium.
The Kats went through a variety of scenarios with the team divided up between offense and defense, using a scoring system that valued scoring plays and goal line stands. The defense managed to take advantage of that, making stops on seven of eight plays in the goal line segment of the series to pull out the comeback win.
“The scoring system worked out perfectly for what we wanted to do,” head coach K.C. Keeler said after the scrimmage. “We wanted to emphasize those short-yardage situations and be physical in those scenarios, which is just what we were able to accomplish.”
Still, the explosive Bearkat offense looked on point early, including quarterback Jeremiah Briscoe who went 9-for-11 on his pass attempts, throwing for a score and 119 yards in limited action. He, along with quarterbacks Caleb Griffin, Cody Brewer and George Vaught were able to find a plethora of wide receivers with Grant Finney and Carlos Vega each hauling in touchdown passes.
Corey Avery also looked strong with 46 yards on the ground, including touchdown rushes of both 24 and 17 yards to lead the ground game.
“We had a lot of guys sit out this game that wouldn’t during the season, but that allowed a lot of guys to get reps and show what they could do,” Keeler said. “I thought Jeremiah (Briscoe) and Caleb (Griffin) both looked incredible, and to see guys like Coree Compton and Grant Finney out there making plays is really going to push our guys moving forward.”
But despite the offense building up a big lead in the early segments that included drives starting from inside the five, at the 20 and midfield, the defense was able to come through late. The defense picked up three sacks, including one from Khalil Welsh and was big in a pair of four-play series that started less than five yards from the goal line.
In eight plays of that goal line stage, the Bearkat defense surrendered just one scoring play, racking up six points for each stop in the scoring system that valued the goal line scenario.
“I loved how the defense stepped up there,” Keeler said. “That’s what we wanted to see. Those type of plays, when your back is against the wall, is where games are decided.”
The Bearkats will wrap up spring ball on Monday with one more practice session before turning their attention to the remainder of summer workouts in preparation for the 2017 season opener against Richmond.