June 2, 2014

Passing game the focus at Pryor spring scrimmage

Air Apparent

June 2, 2014 Chuck Porter Sports Editor

PRYOR, OK — Brennon Barth put up his normal numbers during the Pryor Blue-White Spring Game Saturday at Tiger Stadium.

The senior quarterback racked up 190 yards and three touchdowns on the night — rushing totals that wouldn't have seemed out of place on a box score from 2013, except for one thing.

On Saturday, those were his passing stats.

“We've got to throw it, I don't want to say ‘more,’ but we've got to be better at it,” Pryor head coach Jason Freeman said. “That's what we focused on this spring, and I think we got a lot better at it.”

Pryor, and Barth in particular, made a name for themselves last season running the triple-option, a high-powered rushing attack Freeman installed last spring. The team averaged about 50 passing yards per game while piling up nearly 300 on the ground.

Barth and his backup Chandler Olson aired it out 23 times during the shortened scrimmage, compared to 34 running plays — a 40 percent passing clip, which might have been higher had it not been for some broken plays.

Last fall, the Tigers’ pass-play ratio hovered around 10-20 percent.

“When we get against guys ... whose talent level is better than we are, we're not going to be able to run it as much. We've just got to be more balanced,” Freeman said. “Running the football is what we do, and we'll continue to do that. There's no run-and-shoot teams that win state championships. It just doesn't happen.”

Barth completed six of his 13 attempts, including a beautiful post pattern to Anthony Martinez that went for a 70-yard score. He hit tight end Ryan Ogg for a five-yard score for the offense's first score of the game.

Perhaps the most dazzling offensive play, however, came from running back Timmy Stimson. He took a short screen pass from Barth on the right side of the field, came back to the left and went down the sideline for a 76-yard score. Stimson averaged 15.3 yards on his 10 touches Saturday.

“I'm not surprised by Timmy, I know what he can do. He's a very good athlete,” Freeman said of Stimson, who was hampered last season by a toe injury he sustained early in the fall.

Stimson was the backup to featured back Matt McGouldrick last year.

“I told him ‘McGouldrick rushed for 1,000 yards, I want at least 1,500 out of you.’ Matt did a really good job, but Timmy is more of a guy that can break one,” Freeman said.

Fresh faces also made an impact Saturday, especially junior tight end and linebacker Spencer Henson. Henson intercepted an Olson pass with one hand near the end of the scrimmage and returned it 50 yards for a score.

The last man chasing him down the sideline was his coach, Freeman, which prompted some cheers and laughs from the hundreds in attendance.

“I don't know if I want to call him a pleasant surprise, because I knew he had the ability,” Freeman said. Henson had not played football in high school but came out to play for Freeman in the spring.

“He's big, he can move, he's got good hands. He'll go hit you. He's a very good addition for us,” Freeman said.

Freeman was pleased with up-and-coming linemen Kiefer Callison, a junior, and Beau Dale, a senior, but perhaps Pryor's biggest push forward will come from the sophomore class.

“That group as a whole is going to make us better,” Freeman said. “I was pleasantly surprised by that group. They caught on really quickly and they're not scared. They go hook it up.”

Sophomore running back Christian Campbell carried seven times for 14 yards, and fellow sophomore Olson had nine carries for 39 yards. Olson was 2-of-10 through the air with an interception, but found Austin LaFave on a a 26-yard seam route and hit him later in the drive for a six-yard score.

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