Written by Jon Machota
Skyline defense dominates while offense struggles in spring game
It’s difficult to find a rhythm on offense when your best receiver is out with an injury and the whistle blows any time a defender gets within a few feet of your quarterback.
That’s what the Skyline offense struggled with for the first half of their spring game Thursday night at Forester Stadium.
The first and second team offenses were both held scoreless during the first half, never stepping foot inside the red zone during the first hour of play.
“We got a good defense and we just had to get on those offensive guys a little bit,” Skyline coach Reginald Samples said. “I think they were having a little bit too much respect for the defense.”
Devante Kincade, a standout dual-threat quarterback, got to the edge on several occasions, in good position to break a long run, but the whistle blew each time a defender got near. Samples didn’t want anyone making contact with the team’s most valuable player.
“It was real difficult because I couldn’t put no moves on anybody,” Kincade said. “I thought it was going to be live for my last spring game but the coaches don’t want me to get hurt. I’m trying to get to the promised land.”
Samples said there were at least three times that he thought Kincade would’ve went the distance in live action.
Not having Ra’Shaad Samples, the coach’s son, on the field also made things more predictable for the defense. The team’s top receiving threat excels at stretching the field, however, he is sidelined with an ankle injury.
“Without him out there, they kind of play up a little bit,” Reginald Samples said. “It’s real hard to run our scheme when you don’t have anyone that makes them get back off of you.”
Skyline totaled two touchdowns during the two-hour event, which was attended by several hundred fans and coaches from several schools, including Ohio State, West Virginia, Kansas State and Texas A&M.
Second-string sophomore quarterback Sedarian Copeland tossed a 10-yard score on a fade route to Emmanuel Harris for the first score. Kincade rushed in a QB sneak from seven yards out about 10 minutes later.
Copeland quarterbacked the junior varsity last season but will be Kincade’s backup in 2012. He’s only getting about 20 percent of the snaps with the first team but his coach trusts him running the offense if needed. Considering how much Kincade enjoys running in Skyline’s spread offense, injuries, like the jammed finger the junior suffered during the spring game, could force Copeland into action.
“If you just look at his raw talent, I feel comfortable, if Kincaid goes down, that he can run the offense,” Samples said. “He’s got a great arm and he knows the offense.”
Coach Samples praised the play of Skyline’s interior defensive linemen and linebackers following Thursday’s game.
“The thing I was encouraged about is they probably played better tonight then they have in a long time,” Samples said of the defense.
While scrambling around, Kincade specifically noticed the play of defensive tackle Kerrick Huggins, a Texas A&M pledge, middle linebacker Isaiah Williams, who has offers from Colorado and Kansas State, and cornerback Will Barrow, who is committed to Texas Tech.
Ra'Shaad Samples’ ankle injury kept him out of Thursday’s action and there is no timetable for his return. His coach and father is confident that he’ll be ready by the start of the 2012 season.
“I don’t know if he’ll be well in time for seven-on-sevens,” Reginald Samples said. “We’ll just play it by ear. He’s very important. We’ll just see how it goes.”
The starting quarterback is certainly hoping his top receiver is back sooner than later. Following Thursday’s spring game, Kincade said he has been throwing passes to Samples but the extent of that is limited because the 6-0, 170-pounder is unable to run routes.
“I’m waiting on him to get back so we can go on and get the chemistry back going,” Kincade said. “It won’t be real difficult because we got a good scheme. Any receiver, if he’s good enough, he can come to Skyline and play in our scheme. We can get you open, regardless.”
On Thursday, Kincade announced that his top six college choices are Kansas State, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ole Miss and Oregon State.
The 6-0, 175-pounder is a three-star prospect on Rivals.com and ranked as the website's 16th-best dual-threat quarterback for the class of 2013.