BELTON — The Shoemaker Grey Wolves had a breakout season in 2013, but defensive end and linebacker Rahssan Thornton knows that was last year.
Gone are defensive playmakers Dwayne Williams and Malik Clemons. But that just means it’s time for Thornton and the 2014 Grey Wolves to make some more memories.
“We want to go farther than they did because it’s our time now,” Thornton said. “We saw what they could do when last year’s team pulled itself together and became one. We’re trying to get to the playoffs, make it far.”
Shoemaker had a final regular season tuneup Friday when it scrimmaged the Bryan Vikings at Crusader Stadium.
Bryan won the simulated quarter portion of the scrimmage 6-0, but Shoemaker managed to put up two touchdowns during the earlier alternating possession part of the scrimmage.
The Grey Wolves are coming off the best season in school history. Shoemaker went 7-4 and made it to the playoffs, the second postseason appearance the school earned since it opened in 2000.
Shoemaker returns six starters on defense and seeks to make the playoffs for a second consecutive year.
Senior safety Diamon Cannon said one of the keys to making it back to the playoffs is to keep working, improving and critiquing the team’s performance. Basically, stay hungry.
“We need to learn our responsibilities and we’ve got to learn that you’ve got to do your job first before helping anyone else out,” Cannon said. “I think some people came in here thinking it was going to be given to them instead of taking it.”
The Shoemaker defense allowed a 28-yard touchdown on the second series of the game simulation portion of the scrimmage, but forced two Bryan three-and-out series during the 12-minute period.
The Grey Wolves also forced two short drives during the possession segment of the scrimmage.
Shoemaker head coach Channon Hall said the scrimmage would serve as a valuable learning tool for the team as it prepares for the regular season opener against Bryan Rudder.
“We got after it. We’re out of shape and the lack of execution cost us,” Hall said. “The defense played pretty good and the offense played good at times, but it was just a lack of execution overall.”
The Grey Wolves alternated between quarterbacks Demetrius Taylor and Joseph Massey as both got their fair share of snaps with the first-string offense.
The Grey Wolves are looking to find a new signal caller to replace Ziere Banner, now at UTEP.
Taylor helped Shoemaker score a touchdown during the controlled scrimmage portion when he lobbed a pass toward the near sideline that wide receiver Noah Fulinara caught. The connection was good for a 43-yard touchdown.
Massey hit wide receiver Derrick Thomas for a 23-yard touchdown during the goal-line portion of the controlled scrimmage.
Hall said the team would likely keep alternating both players into the game next week.
“They both bring different things to the table. We’ve just got to execute better,” Hall said.
Shoemaker gets the regular season underway at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Leo Buckley Stadium against Rudder.
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