Offense in yellow clashed with defense in purple, and for a windy, warm spring night in Memorial Stadium, Dodge City Conquistador football returned.
The Conquistadors played their spring game Monday night. Score-wise, the offense won 21-9 in a game that was called early due to lighting in the area.
Quarters were done so that every 12 offensive plays was quarter, not counting kickoffs or extra points.
Scoring was done with various types of plays resulting in a certain number of points for whichever side. On defense, for instance, 3-and-outs were worth two points, and non-scoring drives were worth one. On offense, big plays of over 20 yards were worth one point.
Takeaways on offense
The Conquistadors enter next season in the unenviable position of having to replace a quarterback they relied on a lot the last couple of years in Caden Walters. That won’t be easy, but each of the quarterbacks showed glimpses of being at the very least physically capable.
Head coach Gary Thomas said considering the windy conditions, he thought they handled themselves “pretty well.” They also made some mistakes. In at least one situation, one of the quarterbacks held onto the ball, and scrambled to his left for a minimal gain, but missed that he had a wide-open receiver across the field that had cleanly beat his man.
Despite that error and some others, Thomas said the quarterbacks did a generally good job.
“What I took from it, decision-making aside, this that and the other, I thought we threw the ball accurately,” Thomas said.
That’s the biggest concern he said, because in college football receivers are going to get open, and coaches can scheme ways to manipulate that. The question that remains is can a quarterback actually put the ball in their hands.
“I was encouraged by our accuracy, above all else,” Thomas said. “(We) probably blew a couple reads, and could have done some things better or differently, but at the end of the day it was did we throw and catch the ball with the wideout.”
The running back position also showed signs of talent. Multiple times, running backs broke free and into the open. Despite losing Tyler Minor and AJ Walker to graduations, Anthony Watkins returns, having played some good time last year as a freshman.
Ideally, Thomas said he wants to avoid a “running-back by committee” approach, preferring to have two solid running backs that will work in tandem as the primary two.
Takeaways on defense
The defensive line looked good, but the question remains how much depth the defense will have. Thomas said linebacker is a key hole right now.
Outside of that, the team will need a dominant pass-rusher to establish themselves, Thomas said.