JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. — A shorthanded Carson-Newman Eagles team took the field in its annual Orange and Blue game Thursday at Burke-Tarr Stadium. Injuries once again took their toll through spring practice, with only four of Carson-Newman's projected seven quarterbacks entering the game.
The Eagles QBs had a rough day passing, but there was plenty of room to run the ball for returning sophomore Tyron Douglas (Clover, S.C.). Douglas was the star of the scrimmage, gaining 132 yards and two touchdowns on just 10 carries.
The Blue team, wearing white Thursday, won the game 14-9 thanks to Douglas' two touchdowns.
Douglas wasn't alone making highlight plays, as even new faces like freshman Anthony Ball (Athens, Ga.) got in on the act, taking off for a 53-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. Ball's 73 yards on the day was the second best after Douglas.
"Some kids really made a lot of strides," head coach Ken Sparks said. "We've got a lot of guys that had to go the extra mile this spring so they had to play a lot of positions. They can't complain about not getting enough reps. We've got some pieces that are pretty good, but we have some pieces that have got to be a lot better."
On defense the linebackers put on a show of their own. Freshman linebacker Eric Caine (Jefferson City, Tenn.) led the Blue Team with nine tackles. On the Orange Team, freshman Greg Beauduy (Deerfield Beach, Fla.) had eight tackles, one for a loss and a sack. Freshman William Alderman (Winston-Salem, N.C.) split time at linebacker and defensive end, recording six tackles.
With the problems at quarterback, three of the top three Eagles QBs missed the game, the wide receivers had to get noticed in other ways besides catching the ball, though freshman Cassadine Blassingame (Toccoa, Ga.).
On the defensive line, it was a great day for freshman Jaleel Jackson (Clarksville, Tenn.) Jackson recorded eight tackles. Reggie Young had five.
"We had some good attitudes and gave good effort," Sparks said. "If you've got attitude and effort, you've got a chance. We're not as talented as we need to be, but if we play together and make a commitment, then we've got a chance."
Sophomore kicker Curt Duncan (Morristown, Tenn.) had a day he'd rather forget kicking field goals, but standing in for injured punter Charles Rhea, Duncan had four monster punts. Duncan sent the ball past 50 yards three times and averaged over 44 yards per punt.
The Eagles report for fall camp in early August to begin preparation for their 33rd season under Sparks, who begins the season with 299 career wins.