Over the past few seasons, Ellison has been known for its high-octane offense.
The Eagles’ big-play ability was on full display again Tuesday night in their annual spring game.
The offense scored 63 points against the defense, while the defense tallied 32 points.
The offense tallied six points for touchdowns, one for extra points and three for field goals. The defense earned six points for a turnover, three for a three-and-out and one for a stop.
Overall, Ellison head coach Trent Gregory was pleased with what he saw on the field Tuesday.
“All throughout the spring, the kids have worked hard and looked good,” Gregory said. “We kind of got an early start this year, and we worked out early in the morning. For the kids, it’s a sacrifice and they’ve got to be a special breed to be able to do that.
“The kids came out ready to roll, and we made some really good gains on both sides of the ball.”
The big question heading into the spring was who would replace standout quarterback Carl Robinson III, who will be lost to graduation. Colton Jung, Tavon Gwynn and Breezion Spiller have been battling for the job, and Spiller, who will be a sophomore in the fall, had an outstanding spring game.
Spiller completed 15 of 22 passes for 199 yards while throwing four touchdowns, and he also rushed seven times for 115 yards and two touchdowns.
“He’s extremely athletic,” Gregory said. “He can just extend plays and make things happen. He’s got tremendous athletic ability and sees the field well, and he’s made really good gains throughout the spring.”
Gwynn earned All-District 8-6A first-team honors this past season after catching 33 passes for 505 yards and seven touchdowns. The incoming senior caught five passes for 91 yards Tuesday, including a 36-yard touchdown along the right sideline on a fade route.
“Tavon started for us out wide last year, and he’s a tremendous athlete,” Gregory said. “We’ve gotten him some good reps; he’s been in the rotation at quarterback with the other two. But we’ve also gotten him plenty of work out wide, too.
“He’s very athletic and, regardless of where he’s going to be, we know he’s going to help us out. He has the most experience of each of them playing on Friday nights.”
Jung is a signal caller in a bit of a traditional sense.
“He’s a bigger, stronger type of kid that has continued to improve, too,” Gregory said. “It’s been a fun battle, and we’re going to continue to look at it throughout the summer months with 7-on-7. That’s what I told the kids tonight afterward — tonight is just another step in the process.”
Six-foot-3 wideout Jyaire Shorter caught four passes for 89 yards and two touchdowns. His first score, a 50-yarder, included a vicious stiff-arm around the 35-yard line before he raced to paydirt.
Running back Ty Hill rushed four times for 21 yards and caught four passes for 29 yards and a touchdown.
Hill, who will be a junior, has gotten stronger and filled out more since the fall, and Gregory credited his growth to strength and conditioning coach Bruce Cox.
“We work really, really hard in the weight room,” Gregory said. “We will continue to do that, but what I think you’re seeing with Ty is his strength and his explosion. It’s performance training is what coach Bruce does with these kids, and it’s showing up on the grass.”
Fellow back Terry Gillespie rushed six times for 34 yards and caught five passes for 40 yards.
He also scored a touchdown on a 3-yard scamper during the team’s goal-line period.
But the Eagles’ defense also stood out Tuesday. They held the offense from moving the chains on three third-and-4 situations and also forced an interception on the last play of the game, as Michael Adams corralled an errant pass in the end zone.
Ellison is installing a different style of defensive scheme with defensive coordinator Judd Jackson, but Gregory felt the defense’s progression has come along nicely.
“The coaches have worked really hard in teaching the kids,” Gregory said. “It’s a bit of a learning curve because it’s been different, to some degree. The terminology is different and the expectations are high, but I thought the kids came out tonight and did some really good things.
“There’s some good experience on that side of the football. We’ll put this whole thing together and see what happens.”
Gregory also commended the performance of place-kicker and punter Morgan Button, who will bring a litany of experience to both positions this coming fall.