North Vermillion looked to be in mid-season form, coming off a 12-1 campaign that included a Class A sectional championship in 2012.
Meanwhile, West Vigo got an opportunity to see some of its young players in action against another varsity team for the first time.
So Friday night’s festivities at North Vermillion High School’s newly renovated Gibson Field produced a win-win situation for both squads during their controlled scrimmage that did not include kickoffs, field goals, extra points or punts.
“When we scheduled this, we knew what they were going to have,” West Vigo coach Jeff Cobb said in respect of the host Falcons. “It was what I expected. We are heavy on sophomores and freshmen, so a lot of our players tonight got their first taste of varsity action. … It’s part of the growing process.”
North Vermillion, coached by Brian Crabtree, got the ball first and wasted little time in finding the end zone. Starting from its own 35-yard line, it needed nine plays to score on a 9-yard hookup between senior quarterback Brayden Woodard and sophomore receiver Cody Wright, who later filled in a little at varsity QB.
Starting again from its 35, a 41-yard Woodard-to-Braeden Hollowell connection eventually led to an 8-yard TD scamper by Woodard.
After the Falcons’ initial 15 varsity plays and a few more for their junior varsity were completed, West Vigo took its turn, but without as much success. A couple first downs were the best the Vikings’ varsity could manage with senior signal-caller Jimmy Maples lined up behind center during its first 15 plays.
Next up was a chance for each team to start a drive from the opponent’s 35.
Again, the Falcons tallied twice — the first on a 30-yard burst by sophomore running back Jacob Earl, who sprinted untouched to the left side of the end zone, and the second on a 17-yard run by Hollowell, who made a nice cutback to his right to reach paydirt.
North Vermillion’s JV squad failed to score from the same distance, giving West Vigo’s varsity a chance to do something positive with 12 plays. But one first down — coming on a 10-yard toss from Maples to sophomore Hunter Voils — and a lost fumble were the most memorable moments during that session.
After West Vigo’s JV tried unsuccessfully to cross the goal line from the same distance (but with fewer plays allowed by the pregame script), the final session commenced — with each varsity getting 10 plays starting from the opponent’s 10.
This time, North Vermillion racked up three TDs. They came on a 5-yard run by Woodard, a 9-yard strike from Woodard to Hollowell and another 5-yard run by Woodard.
You might say West Vigo finally dented the scoreboard during its final 10-play set from the Falcons’ 10, but no score was kept in this scrimmage. Still, Cobb was glad to see Maples bust in from the 3 on the third play.
“We rotated a lot of kids because we wanted to see them on film,” Cobb summarized about the scrimmage. “This helps with our final decision on who will be our No. 1s in Week 1 [next Friday at Evansville Harrison].”
Asked about his biggest concern from the scrimmage, Cobb replied: “Staying together as a team and working through adversity.”
“There were some communication issues,” he pointed out. “I think that’s the first area they need to improve.”
North Vermillion’s regular-season opener will be next Friday at Wabash River Conference foe Turkey Run.