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Demons defense force 5 turnovers in first scrimmage
Aug 14, 2012 | 428 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Quarterback Brad Henderson runs the read-option play with running back Rumeall Morris during Saturday’s scrimmage.
Quarterback Brad Henderson runs the read-option play with running back Rumeall Morris during Saturday’s scrimmage.
A ball-hawking Purple Swarm defense came up with five turnovers, including a 21-yard fumble return by Cortez Paige, before the Northwestern State offense dominated the latter portion of a two-hour scrimmage Saturday night in Turpin Stadium with eight touchdowns, including three long pass plays, two by starting quarterback Brad Henderson.

Junior transfer Kenderick Johnson rang up scoring receptions of 60 and 54 yards, the latter from Henderson, who also had a 44-yard hookup with fellow senior Phillip Harvey. True freshman Daniel Hazlewood threw the longer TD to Johnson.

Junior tailback Rumeall Morris posted a scrimmage-best 103 yards rushing on 17 carries, including a pair of 1-yard touchdown runs, one in a goalline competition ending the two-hour, 125-snap scrimmage. Four of the touchdowns came in that 10-play battle, three by the first-team offense against their defensive counterparts. Morris had a 4-yard TD catch from Henderson on the goalline, giving him a game-high three scores.

Johnson, a Mississippi College transfer from Zachary, topped the receivers with 135 yards. Harvey snagged a scrimmage-best four passes for 61 yards as 14 Demons made catches.

Four quarterbacks combined for 326 yards passing on 23-of-46 aim with two interceptions. Henderson had 134 yards on 8-of-19 passing with an interception, notching the two TDs. Hazlewood hit all four of his tries for 109 yards and the long score, while Canyon, the second-teamer, went 9-of-17 for 68 yards including a 5-yard touchdown to Clifton Brown in the goalline competition. Keenon Gibson went 2-6-1 for 15 yards.

Junior linebacker Tyler Smith made an interception and recovered a fumble. Redshirt freshman safety Chase Collins picked off a pass and shared the scrimmage best with seven tackles, along with All-America linebacker Derek Rose.

Junior linebacker Pat Black recovered a fumble and senior nose tackle Lesley Deamer blocked a field goal. Black had six tackles and forced the fumble he recovered.

Senior kicker John Shaughnessy capped the scrimmage with a 49-yard field goal.

The Demons’ offense posted three touchdowns on the final 16 plays before the goalline drill, with Johnson’s two long strikes sandwiched around a 7-play, 60-yard drive powered by good creases from the offensive line that Morris converted for 52 yards on six runs, including the 1-yard capper.

“The defense dominated the first three quarters but boy, our offense roared back with some great plays coming down the stretch,” said fourth-year coach Bradley Dale Peveto. “We haven’t shown that kind of explosiveness this early in camp before and that’s exciting to everybody in the stadium except the defense. I like the fact that the offense took some punches but didn’t give in. They came back and tore it up.”

Seven ballcarriers combined to rush for 238 yards on 60 carries.

True freshmen tailbacks Daniel Taylor (16-65) and Matthew Flores (9-50) showed impressive quickness and agility behind Morris as two other top backs, senior Sidney Riley and junior transfer Rob Walker, were among players sitting out with relatively minor injuries.

NSU did not practice Sunday, but will resume workouts Monday with two full pads sessions, at 9:40 a.m. and 6:50 p.m. in Turpin Stadium.

“It’s going to be a great week. We’re going to have three two-a-days, and wrap it up with another scrimmage on Saturday before classes begin the next week,” said Peveto. “Some people are going to the Bahamas for fun, we’re getting it on in Turpin Stadium and I couldn’t be more excited.”

The second major preseason scrimmage is next Saturday with the third and final one set Wednesday evening, Aug. 22.
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