Receiving points for third-down stops and tackles behind the line of scrimmage is all well and good, but scoring the old-fashioned way on defense has its own special flair.
“There’s nothing like those type of plays, especially a pick-six. There’s nothing like them in the game of football,” Shoemaker junior linebacker Malik Clemons said.
The Grey Wolves defense scored eight points the old-fashioned way, though they were made to look easy, on an interception return and a safety, and beat the Shoemaker offense 86-69 Friday in the Grey Wolves’ annual Blue-White spring game.
Kerry Walker returned an interception 25 yards for a touchdown, Clemons scored a safety and the Blue team, the Grey Wolves’ defensive units, systematically picked apart the offense, exacting revenge for a spring season mostly dominated by the offense.
“The offense, pretty much all spring, got after the defense and then, today, the defense turned it on and got after the offense,” Shoemaker coach Channon Hall said. “I feel pretty good about that. If you count this, count all the days in the spring, I think we’re pretty even. I think that makes us a better football team with both sides having success.”
Junior Rayshun Spearman ran for 105 yards on 12 carries, and junior quarterback Ziere Banner and junior receiver Nahome Anderson scored rushing touchdowns for the offense.
Outside of Spearman’s running, the offense sputtered. Banner completed just 7-of-17 passes for 58 yards with an interception, and Qwoy Blunt was 2 of 7 for 36 yards, but neither quarterback got a lot of help from the receivers, who dropped seven passes.
The offense gathered 16 first downs, but committed nine penalties, turned the ball over four times and had 16 negative-yardage plays.
“Spearman, he probably had over a 100 yards rushing, that was positive. We ran the ball well, didn’t throw and catch like we wanted to,” Hall said. “It’s just another day at the office and we’ll get better next time on offense.”
The defense led 30-19 before Banner marched the offense 60 yards in 14 plays in the final 5-plus minutes of the first half, giving the offense 36-31 lead at the break. Anderson scored on a 9-yard sweep to the opposite side of the field on the third play after the buzzer signaled the end of the second quarter.
Banner then scored on a 75-yard sprint on the first play of the second half, but the scoring jaunt was called back because of a holding penalty nine yards into the run. The drive stalled, with the scored tied 36-36, after consecutive sacks.
Clemons tackled Blunt in the end zone on a third-and-30 play to give the defense a 59-38 lead late in the third.
“We’re just trying to make plays and get to the ball,” Clemons said. “Just try to stop the offense, just try to make plays.”
But Spearman and the offense struck right back. Spearman ran twice for 40 yards and Banner completed a 25-yard pass to Blunt. On the next play, Banner scored on a 2-yard carry that cut the defense’s lead to 59-57 at the end of the third quarter.
In the fourth, the offense turned the ball over three times and the Walker scored the only touchdown of the period for the defense. Walker tipped Banner’s pass behind the line of scrimmage, caught the jump ball and returned it the final distance to score the defensive touchdown.
“They were good,” Hall said of the defense. “They were bringing some heat on us. ... They played good. Kerry Walker, Malik Clemons, them guys made plays all game long and that was the difference.”