Spring game roundup: Plano, Guyer passing attacks in good hands
PLANO - Quarterback Richard Lagow threw four touchdown passes, including a decisive two-point conversion late, as the Plano White edged the Maroon, 15-14, at Clark Stadium on Thursday night.
“I really feel like we had a good offseason. We had a great spring camp,” Plano head coach Jaydon McCullough said. “[I’m] really looking forward to our summer program and 7-on-7.”
The 6-3 Lagow, who will be a junior in the fall, takes over for two-year starter Connor Michelsen, who passed for 2,290 yards and 20 touchdowns with just seven interceptions last year for Plano, which went 7-4 and made the playoffs in District 8-5A.
Lagow was under center for both the White and Maroon squads. His first scoring strike went for eight yards to LJ Ausama to give the White an early 7-0 edge. In the second quarter, the new Plano QB hit Anthony Antwine with a 12-yard touchdown pass. He later threw a 4-yard TD pass to Antwine.
“That [Antwine] is my best friend right there,” Lagow said. “We’re close not only on the field but off it as well.”
But Lagow saved his best for last as he led the White team down the field, finding Dalton Reeves in the back of the end zone from 10 yards out with less than a minute remaining. He then threw a perfect ball to Kevin Leamy with 21 seconds left to give the White a 15-14 lead.
“I thought I played pretty well,” Lagow said. “All the receivers [on both teams] made plays.”
After the scrimmage was over, McCullough had a simple message for his team.
“You’ve got to stay humble and you’re got to stay hungry. If you do those two things, you’ve got a chance,” he said. “I’m excited about this opportunity.”
Ready to step up
Antwine’s two-touchdown performance was impressive. But catching passes from Lagow is nothing new for the Plano wideout as the two have been friends for some time.
“Richard and I go back really, really far. We were friends before we played football. Freshman year, we were going against each other at quarterback. I hurt my knee and had surgery and he went to quarterback,” Antwine said. “When I went to receiver, our brotherhood as football players grew greatly. We’re so close. Wide receivers have got to be friends with their quarterbacks. We’re not friends. We’re brothers.”
With the top four receivers from last year’s team graduated, Antwine knows he will be expected to step up. It’s a challenge he’s ready to accept.
“Yeah, it’s going to be hard. We lost all of our starting receivers. We have me, LJ and Hunter Gore returning,” Antwine said. “It’s going to be hard, but I know for sure we’re going to step up. I’ve got a hard role to play, and know I’m going to step up. Coach believes in me and I believe in myself.”
Ausama, who missed all of last season, could also be a big contributor. One of his fellow pass catchers knows he’s also ready to answer the bell.
“I know he’s going to be good. I’ve got no doubts about him,” Antwine said.
Another player McCullough has been raving about for much of the spring is defensive back Marcus Davis, who came over from Richardson Berkner. Davis is expected to help anchor a secondary that has several holes to fill after graduating Collin Brence and Blair Burns, both all-district performers in 2010.
“He’s super,” McCullough said of Davis. “A great kid, tremendous hitter. I expect great things out of him.”
Plano has yet to choose its captains for the 2011 season, something McCullough leaves up to his players.
“We’ll tell you tomorrow. We’re voting for captains tomorrow,” he said. “I usually let the team decide.”
Nine starters return for Plano - six on offense and three on defensel.
Kicking game progressing
Another big hole for Plano looms on special teams, where the graduation of Chris Moore, who handled punting and placekicking, will be tough to replace.
Two names to watch are Cole Eckeberger, who delivered a solid punt for the Maroon in the second half. Kicker Jourdan Escobar was 2-for-2 on extra-point tries.
While replacing Moore is a tall order, McCullough isn’t worried.
“We’ve got a ways to go, but we feel good about a couple of our kids.” he said."
A simple formula
McCullough's remarks to his team after the scrimmage were brief but poignant.
“What we do this summer is going to be so vital," he said. "Working out together and all the things that we do this summer really forces us to spend time together. The main thing is just being together. You’ve got to learn how to get along, how to disagree and how to communicate with each other (in a way) that’s positive.”
What can Plano fans expect from the Wildcats this fall?
“We’re going to be disciplined. We’re going to play hard and the right way,” McCullough said. “If we do those things, with the talent we have, I think we do have a chance to be good."
REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE
Aug. 26 at Garland Lakeview Centennial 7:30 PM
Sept. 1 at Irving MacArthur 7:00 PM
Sept. 9 Mansfield Legacy 7:30 PM
Sept. 23 Allen 7:30 PM
Sept. 30 at Hebron 7:30 PM
Oct. 7 Flower Mound 7:30 PM
Oct. 14 Flower Mound Marcus (Kimbrough) 7:30 PM
Oct. 21 at Lewisville 7:30 PM
DENTON GUYER'S SPRING GAME
In three seasons, quarterback J.W. Walsh led Denton Guyer from being a 1-19 program to a two-time state semifinalist at the Class 4A level and finally to a berth in the Class 5A Division II state championship game last December, which Guyer lost, 24-21, to Cibolo Steele.
Walsh, now at Oklahoma State, was on the sidelines for Guyer's spring game Thursday night, watching quarterback Jerrod Heard show fans what the next three years might hold for the Wildcats.
A hint? It’s a lot of good.
Heard, who will be a sophomore next year, concluded his spring with a 10-for-17 passing day and 85 yards rushing on 13 carries. He threw for three scores and rushed for another to help the Silver team tie the Black team in the final outing of the spring.
Guyer head coach John Walsh said he has been pleased but not surprised with Heard’s progression through the spring practice schedule.
“The biggest thing he wasn’t doing a month ago was his timing in the passing game wasn’t great,” Walsh said of his Heard. “And now you see the ball getting out of his hand on time. He’s always had a strong arm, that’s never been a problem."
While making a few mistakes that any 15-year-old quarterback playing at the varsity level might, including an interception on the game’s final play, Heard also showed plenty of signs that the Guyer offense will be in good hands for the next three seasons.
Heard had scoring strikes of 21, 10 and 58 yards – all to Guyer’s leading returning receiver Conner Crane – and rushed for a 3-yard score.
“I’m pleased with what he’s doing,” Walsh said. “He’s taking his athletic ability and now understanding the quarterback game and playing it right.”