New Albany closed its spring season with a scrimmage at Saltillo Thursday night, an opportunity to see what is in store for the Bulldogs next season.
“Great effort tonight, and the kids played until the last play of the game. For it to be a spring game and it to mean so much to them to win, they gave us everything they had in them until the end of the game,” NAHS head coach Ron Price said. “We have some young guys getting some good experience out there, and we made some mistakes that hurt us, and that’s the thing, if we can overcome mistakes, we’re going to be a good football team.”
Coming off a 13-1 season and second consecutive playoff appearance in 2010, new faces fill the starting lineup, including a dual at quarterback between rising senior Lawrence Zinn and rising junior Spencer Day. Both saw playing time in the scrimmages against Booneville and Saltillo despite Zinn battling a knee injury.
“Lawrence has been battling, but he still gave us a try tonight, and you can tell as the game went on Spencer Day started making some good plays for us and his confidence was growing,” Price said. “It’s going to be a quarterback battle until we line up for the first play against Ripley this fall. We have a summer ahead of us, but we still have some guys that are going to compete. Lawrence is going to healthy, and we’ll se how that goes leading up until August.”
Another face stepping up on offense is rising junior Boston Newsome, who saw time on both sides of the ball last season and scored three rushing touchdowns.
“He’s the perfect example of a football player,” Price said. “He gives us everything that we could possibly ask of him, and I was thrilled to death tonight to see his energy and excitement on the sideline then we went right back out and scored to go ahead.”
“These young guys that haven’t been the men, it’s time for them to step up and be men, and if they continue to do that, we’ll be a good football team come August.”
Several players have had the opportunity to step up in leadership roles, especially in the absence of Riley Alef and Josh Creekmore, who will guide the team as part of next year’s senior class.
“That’s been the whole key to the spring season. Riley Alef and Josh Creekmore are our true leaders, and they have not been with us this spring because they’ve been with the baseball team, and it’s been an opportunity for some other guys to step up and take those leadership roles,” Price said. “It excites me when kids like Boston and Spencer step up and lead the team, so there’s a lot of excitement going into the summer now.”
“We have a lot of things we still need to work on and correct, but these kids still believe that they can win and they believe we can have a good football team. We just have to keep working to get there.”