Due to limited practice time from an unusually wet August, Wade McDonald wasn't expecting much from Friday's three-way preseason scrimmage against Crossett and Monticello Drew Central. Beekman's third-year head coach came away pleasantly surprised as the Tigers split a pair of 14-0 decisions with a win over Drew Central and a loss to the Eagles.
"It was better than what I really expected for the amount of time we have been able to practice," said McDonald, whose team made the short trip to Crossett (Ark.) to face the same two sides for the second straight year. "Against Drew Central, we looked pretty good, and they are much-improved over last year. Against Crossett, it was the same ole, same ole. In our kids minds, it was like we were going to play some big-time college team."
Zeb Morgan scored both of the Tigers' touchdowns against Drew Central off of a running play on the fourth play from scrimmage and a 50-yard pass from Brock Jenkins. Shortly afterward, eighth-grader Taron Taylor's 40-yard touchdown on a sweep was negated by a block in the back.
Jenkins, a sophomore, completed 3-of-4 passes in the two games. Besides the TD strike to Morgan, Jenkins found tight end Ethan White on a 25-yard catch-and-run.
"I thought Brock was pretty composed," McDonald said. "I thought he did quite well."
Willie Wilson intercepted a pass in the end zone to end Drew Central's only serious threat.
The finale between Crossett and Beekman was played almost exclusively in Tigers' territory.
"Just like last year, we never could flip the field position," McDonald said. "Every time they got the ball, it was on our side of the field."
Typical for this time of the season, the Tigers still have some kinks to work out, most notably on the offensive line.
"We still have to find a center," McDonald said. "We had several bad snaps."
Seth Myers' snaps were on target, but McDonald would prefer to use the sophomore elsewhere.
"Seth is our standby center," McDonald said. "We're trying to bring a couple of young guys along."
Regardless of who settles in at center, the offensive line as a whole still needs some work.
"One time I looked up, and both guards were pulling at the same time in the opposite direction," McDonald said. "We had some mental mistakes, but we'll get those clarified."
On a brighter note, McDonald was pleased with the running backs.
"Johnny Gipson ran the ball real well," McDonald said. "James Foster is going to help us on both sides of the ball at running back and linebacker."
Defensive end Dalon Moore played well defensively, which McDonald has come to expect.
"Dalon is Dalon," McDonald said. "They didn't run to his side too many times."
Cornerbacks Cobe Matthews and Clayton Nunn also caught McDonald's attention.
"I thought our cornerbacks played really well," McDonald said. "Neither team completed a pass on us."
Naturally, there is always room for improvement.
"Our linebackers have to learn to read a little better and our defensive tackles need to get a little meaner," McDonald said.
Still, the positives by far out-weighed the negatives.
"I was really pleased with the defense. We are further along defensively than I thought," McDonald said. "Offensively, if we can just get the line to settle down, I think we'll be okay. Overall, I was pleased with our performance."
Beekman travels to LaSalle for the regular season opener Friday night. Kickoff time is 7 p.m. in Olla.