LOCUST GROVE, OK —
Locust Grove showcased its young talent for the first time Friday night in its first preseason scrimmage.
The Pirates took on Metro Christian, Victory Christian, and Wilburton. Metro Christian and Victory Christian are both picked as top-10 teams for the upcoming season in Class 3A. Locust Grove head coach Matt Hennesy was glad to take on such tough competition.
“We did what I wanted to do, which is go compete playing against those guys, that’s why we scheduled them and that’s why I scheduled where we went against them most,” Hennesy said.
Hennesy was also pleased with what he saw from his team against a tough opponent.
“I thought we did some good things. We scored, we got some turnovers on defense, and we still have some things to work on, but the thing about tonight is that nobody got hurt in the scrimmage. The number one thing you want is to get lots of reps and not get anybody hurt,” Hennesy said.
The Pirate defense, led by a solid linebacking core, forced four turnovers on the night. All four turnovers came against Metro Christian, which included a deflected pass junior defensive lineman Daniel Woodruff pulled down for an interception.
The young Locust Grove offense also flashed signs of improvement. The Pirates’ no-huddle aerial assault is led by sophomore Mason Fine. Fine led his team throwing for 168 yards and four touchdowns in 23 attempts.
Fine’s No. 1 target was speedy junior Cameron McIntire. McIntire, who has 4.4-speed, caught six passes and took three of them to the end zone. McIntire ended the night with 82 receiving yards.
Sophomore Jason Pirtle was also a top choice of Fine’s. Pirtle caught three passes, one which was a back shoulder catch for a 25-yard touchdown. At 6-foot-2, Pirtle will be a big red zone target for Fine this season.
The town of Locust Grove has high hopes for Fine and the other young LG talent, but Henno says his young players don’t feel any pressure from those expectations.
“There’s no pressure on [Fine]. The pressure is on Cam and the other seniors. There’s no pressure on Mason, he’s just a sophomore, just like Trevor [Taylor] on defense. He’s kind of the captain of the defense and he’s just a sophomore. So no pressure on those guys and they’ll just keep getting better, but that’s what those guys want. They’re competitors; they both got named captains this week. We named six captains and two of them are sophomores, so they want that, they want it on their shoulders. They thrive under that,” Hennesy said.
The Pirates will stay home for their final scrimmage Friday night before hosting Salina Sept. 5.