The Oak Ridge Wildcats had a scrimmage against the Heritage Mountaineers of Blount County at Blankenship Field on Friday.
Oak Ridge could have blocked better and tackled better, Wildcats Coach Joe Gaddis said.
“They don’t score if we tackle,” he said.
The Oak Ridge first team tied the Heritage team 13-13. The Moutaineers outscored the Wildcats once the second teams came in, and the final score was 33-13.
But the focus wasn’t on the final score. Instead, Gaddis wanted to try different possibilities. Among other things, the Wildcats wanted to run the option quite a bit, he said.
“Scrimmages are all about learning about your team,” Gaddis said.
He was pleased that Oak Ridge didn’t turn over the ball, even with a new quarterback, new center, and new receivers. Rising junior Johnny Stewart, who scored first for Oak Ridge on a quarterback sneak, started at quarterback, and rising sophomores Kevin Reedy and Herbert Booker also played. Gaddis said Reedy has some good throws, and Booker had some magical runs.
Some standout defenders graduated this year, but Gaddis said the defense has six players returning.
“We’ll be ready defensively,” he said.
Oak Ridge won’t be a large team, but Gaddis expects the offense to play much better in the Week 0 game against Clinton at 7 p.m. Thursday, August 18.
The Wildcats also have to work on their kicking game after Brandon Nickle graduated this year, Gaddis said.
Rising senior wide receiver Tee Higgins, who has committed to Clemson, did not play Friday. Gaddis said he has a hamstring injury from an AAU basketball game in early June.
Running back Caleb Jackson did not dress out, Gaddis said. Rising sophomore Tre Jackson did play and had a good run up the middle, Gaddis said.
Rising sophomore running back Jordan Graham helped lead Oak Ridge on its first scoring drive, the one that ended with a Stewart sneak midway through the second quarter. Caleb Martin added a touchdown catch for Oak Ridge on a fade route with 10.3 seconds left in the half.
Gaddis said Chase Kimbro also had a great one-handed catch during the scrimmage.
Rising senior linebacker Kyndall Clark—Gaddis called him a playmaker—also played Friday.
The Wildcats play in another scrimmage with William Blount and Cleveland at William Blount on August 5.
There will be a Wildcat Day at Ben Martin Track at Oak Ridge High School from 7-9 p.m. Saturday, August 13. It will feature a meet and greet with the players and coaches. There will also be concessions, music, and family fun.
The Week 1 game is at Blankenship Field at 7:30 p.m. Friday, August 26, against Dobyns Bennett. That’s the home opener and also Former Wildcat Day, when former players are encouraged to come be recognized on the field prior to kickoff.
The Wildcats ended their spring practice with a scrimmage against Seymour at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville on May 20, and they had a 7-on-7 at Maryville on July 15.
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