In its first pre-season test, the Rocket football team tied Muhlenberg County 1-1 in varsity play Friday at Greenville.
Going up against a formidable 6A foe in its scrimmage game gave the coaching staff plenty of areas to troubleshoot over the final two weeks of preseason.
“We didn’t look too bad,” head coach Al Starnes said. “We saw plenty of things we need to work on. You have to remember that although we have a lot of returning starters, most of them are playing new positions.”
The Rocket defense is well ahead of the offense, Starnes concedes.
“But we’re nowhere close to where we need to be,” adds defensive coordinator Vince Clark.
Crittenden’s third-year quarterback J.D. Gray was impressive on a limited number of running plays. He scored the Rockets’ only touchdown in the down-and-distance portion of the scrimmage. Gray scored from 10 yards out on a designed running play. The 70-yard scoring drive was set up by a couple of long pass plays to tight end Dylan Clark and running back Andrew Freeman.
Crittenden scored earlier in the contest on a middle screen to Brian Berry, but the TD was erased because of a holding penalty. CCHS was threatening to score on its first drive of the game, too, but a fumble inside the 20 ended that chance.
“We have some work to do on the offensive line,” the coach said. “We’re not coming off the ball like we’re capable of. A lot of that is because we’re young and inexperienced and that makes for slow feet.”
Crittenden could end up starting three freshman on the offensive line and two on the defensive side.
The play of ninth graders Zach Collins and Eli Bebout was encouraging, Starnes said. He also pointed out Gray’s running and throwing, Clark’s play at tight end and Bowe Wallace and Jacob Long’s play in the junior varsity series as bright spots.
Muhlenberg County scored early in the scrimmage on a long pass play down the right sideline.
“We know we have some work to do in the secondary,” Starnes said.
Muhlenberg, a team created when Muhlenberg South and Muhlenberg North consolidated, had plenty of speed and good size.
“They were a pretty good football team,” Starnes said. “We found out that we’re not in good enough shape yet.
“We’re just trying to find the right mix and get the right people on the field,” Starnes said.
The Rockets will host 4A Ohio County tonight (Thursday) in their final pre-season scrimmage. Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m. This warmup game will be played much like a normal varsity contest.
Meet the Rockets Night is next Thursday, Aug. 27 and Crittenden will host the first ever Kentucky National Guard Warrior Bowl on Friday and Saturday, Aug. 28-29. The Rockets play Massac County, Ill., in the Saturday game.