The football team couldn’t have asked for better weather – 76 degrees and sunny – for its annual Cherry and White intrasquad game.
Some of the players, though, could’ve asked for better performances.
The White squad defeated the Cherry squad, 10-0, in a game that featured 12 penalties for 95 yards, three interceptions and two fumbles.
“The first defense on the White team played really well,” coach Al Golden said. “But the Cherry offense had too many penalties, turned the ball over and dropped too many passes to get anything going. From that standpoint, I was disappointed in those guys. We’ve got to start playing the guys who make better decisions than that because that’s not acceptable, especially in the realm of the penalties and the decision-making.”
Both defenses played well, as the White squad, featuring redshirt sophomore quarterback Chester Stewart at the helm for most of the game, didn’t break through until four seconds remained in the second quarter, as redshirt senior kicker Jake Brownell connected on a 19-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead.
Redshirt senior Lamar McPherson keyed the drive that started at the Cherry 48-yard line, rushing for 17 yards and catching two passes for another 12. McPherson finished the game with 17 total yards gained on the ground.
The White team’s other scoring drive led off the start of the fourth quarter. Junior wide receiver Delano Green, who ended the day with 102 yards on eight catches, hauled in two passes of 18 yards and 11 yards, respectively, to move the ball from the team’s 29-yard line to the 43. Sophomore running back Ahkeem Smith then took over, rushing for 25 yards, before Green and redshirt junior tight end Anthony Pekarski caught back-to-back passes – Pekarski’s for the touchdown.
Stewart completed 14-of-29 passes for 197 yards and that touchdown.
His counterpart on the Cherry team, redshirt junior Vaughn Charlton, didn’t fare quite as well.
Charlton threw three interceptions, including one with the Cherry team on the White’s 30-yard line and a meaningless one at the end of the game. He attempted 31 passes, completing 14 for 125 yards.
“Everyone’s learning still, and everyone’s still working, so I’m still going to stay positive,” he said.
Still, the Cherry squad did see solid performances from sophomore running back Kee-ayre Griffin and freshman wide receiver Matt Brown.
Griffin had a balanced day, catching two passes for 33 yards and running for 35 yards on 14 carries, as did Brown, gaining 44 yards on the ground on only two carries and accounting for another 48 through the air with five catches.
Both also flashed big-play potential, with Griffin catching a 24-yard pass on a third-and-nine in the second quarter and Brown running for 36 yards on a reverse two-thirds of the way through the third.
Still, in addition to the penalty problem that arose last year, each team also missed a field goal, with Brownell kicking a 44-yarder wide left for White and junior punter/placekicker Jeff Wathne booting a 50-yarder for Cherry.
Today’s scrimmage concluded spring practice for the Owls, who will resume training camp in August before opening the 2009 season against Villanova on Sept. 3 in the Mayor’s Cup.
Jennifer Reardon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.