CLINTON, S.C. - The Presbyterian College football team hit the field at Bailey Memorial Stadium for the first time this fall as the Blue Hose ran through about 125 plays in a preseason scrimmage on Saturday afternoon.
Offense, defense and special teams all took the field for a practice that saw big plays from newcomers and upperclassmen alike. The scrimmage served as the 12th practice of the season and the team will resume training before next Saturday’s Fan Day at Bailey Memorial Stadium. Players will be available for autographs beginning at 9 a.m. before a 10 a.m. scrimmage.
The squad sent most of its roster on the field throughout the day, including a group of quarterbacks led by Brandon Miley (Wilmington, N.C.) and Chad Sanders (St. Simons, Ga.). The quarterbacks mixed short passes and long sideline routes to find the endzone on several occasions, also offering several displays of mobility on runs through the middle of the field. Each quarterback moved to different units throughout practice to promote familiarity and repetitions.
Practice began with kickoff and punting situations, before moving to sets that began on the offense’s own 35-yard line. As the scrimmage progressed, the offense also set up shop at the 50-yard line and deep in enemy territory before wrapping up the day with goal-line scenarios.
Running back Lance Byrd (Jacksonville, Fla.) found paydirt late in the scrimmage, breaking off a 22-yard touchdown run to highlight a solid day on the ground for the junior. Byrd put together several long rushes, including a 17-yard scamper that set up an Arthur Williams (Baxley, Ga.) leaping touchdown grab.
Seth Moreland (Conway, S.C.) also provided veteran experience in the backfield, recording several touches early and scoring on a goal-line leap midway through the practice.
Wide receiver Michael Ruff (Whitmire, S.C.) provided one of the most impressive displays on Saturday, leading the receiving corps with just under 10 receptions. The redshirt junior scored the first offensive touchdown of the scrimmage, hauling inn a mid-range pass and scampering the rest of the way for a 22-yard score.
Jeremiah McKie (Simpsonville, S.C.) and Williams also turned heads for their play, as McKie made several grabs and also returned kicks.
A number of freshman played on the Bailey turf for the first time on Saturday. Cameren Jones (Greenville, S.C.) and Demarcus Rouse (North Augusta, S.C.) both saw extensive time at running back, highlighted by Jones’ 31-yard run after spinning right to avoid trouble on the day’s first series. Jones also reeled in a pass in the back of the endzone for a touchdown reception.
Freshman defensive back Frank Sherman put the day’s first points on the scoreboard by picking off a pass on third-and-26 and running it back 35 yards for a touchdown.
The defense provided several bright spots on Saturday as well. Justin Bethel (Blythewood, S.C.) disrupted a number of plays by getting in the backfield and taking down players behind the line of scrimmage. The side in blue stopped the offense on the scrimmage’s final goal line stand after a previous stoppage the series before.
Mark Williams (Lithia Springs, Ga.) and Tyler Watkins (Fort Mill, S.C.) each recovered a fumble and Josh Polk (Lithonia, Ga.) broke up a pass and picked up a sack as well. Williams also took part in punt return duty, breaking a big return late. CeeJay Harris (Long Beach, Calif.) flew around the field on the defensive side, making tackles and providing pressure on wide receivers.
Patrick Morgano (Greenville, S.C.) served as the primary punter and Aaron Mayes (Blythewood, S.C.) saw time taking field goals. Mayes converted chances from 32 and 30 yards and nearly cashed in on a 49-yard opportunity. Jeremy Tommie (Greenwood, S.C.) provided the extra points.
Newcomers and younger players meshed with veterans on the offensive and defensive lines, creating holes for a number of long runs.
The team returns to practice on Monday, one of two days this week that features two-a-day practices before Saturday’s Fan Day.