Editor’s note: This story by columnist Mike Lee was inadvertently omitted from the 8-22 edition of The Goldthwaite Eagle.
By MIKE LEE
The Goldthwaite Eagles will host the Cross Plains Buffaloes on Thursday at Eagle Field in a football scrimmage that will serve as the final tune-up before the Aug. 31 season opener.
The JV scrimmage is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, with the varsity to follow about 6:30. Local fans are asked to bring a towel or body wash as a donation to the football program.
The Class 2A Division II Buffaloes finished 6-5 last year. Cross Plains is picked to finish fourth in District 7-2A DII this year behind Albany, Hamlin and Roscoe by Texas Football magazine. A power-running team in recent seasons, the Buffaloes have switched to more of a spread passing offense this year. Quarterback Caleb Hernandez passed 732 yards and 10 touchdowns last year.
The starters from Cross Plains and Winters reportedly scrimmaged to a scoreless tie last week.
Goldthwaite’s defense allowed three touchdowns to Class 3A Early in last week’s full-field portion of their scrimmage. Big plays were responsible for all three touchdowns by the Longhorns’ offense, including a 78-yard catch and run and a 48-yard deep pass. Early’s other score on a short run was set up by a 74-yard pass.
The Longhorns scored three TDs in their first 13 plays.
“I thought it was a good start for us. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t awful,” Goldthwaite coach Greg Proffitt said of the 75-minute scrimmage. “We don’t get a great look during practice because we’re not taking anyone to the ground when we scrimmage. With our numbers (about 33 players), we can’t afford to get anyone hurt in practice.
“So this was our first live contact.”
Linebacker Josh Butterfras, the Eagles’ top returning tackler from last season, didn’t participate in the scrimmage because of a nonfootball condition. That left Goldthwaite with two defensive starters from last season.
In a separate part of the scrimmage, each team had one possession from the opponent’s 25-yard line. Early scored on its possession. Goldthwaite did not.
The Eagles’ offense didn’t score overall and managed no more than two first downs during any possession. They cross midfield once.
The short passing game looked solid at times with quarterback Drew Hermesmeyer throwing to receivers TJ Watson, Jaxon Wootton and Grayson Moore. But the Eagles weren’t able to stretch the field in the passing game or establish a consistent run game.
“We’re trying to fit our personnel for what we have,” Proffitt said. “We have strength in our receiving corps and our quarterback. We’re trying a handful of kids at running back. We just need to get better each week that we practice and play.
“We needed to see ourselves on film, especially the younger kids. That’s a great teaching tool. Now, we’re looking for improvement from last week to this week.”
After the Cross Plains scrimmage, Goldthwaite will start preparations for the regular-season opener Aug. 31 at Winters.