• September 21, 2014

Grey Wolves exercise demons

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Posted: Friday, May 27, 2011 4:01 am

Jammie Blunt and the Grey Wolves’ offense got one of last season’s lost games back.

Set up by a déjà vu defensive pass interference call, the Shoemaker junior quarterback fell in behind his youthful offensive line and bulled into the end zone on a fourth-and-2 play to cap Shoemaker’s annual Blue-White spring scrimmage Thursday.

“It reminded us of Waco University — the pass interference,” said Blunt, who will also be a rotating linebacker. “Me and Johnny (Jefferson) looked at each other, we had to go get it in this time. Not again. We’re not going to get stopped on the 2-yard line.” A pass interference call against the Trojans last September set up Blunt and Shoemaker’s offense with a last-play, first-and-goal at the University 2-yard line trailing 27-20.

But, instead of running behind his offensive line, Blunt went wide right and was dropped for a two-yard loss in what could’ve been the hinge game that snapped Shoemaker’s losing streak before it reached its current 22-game stigma.

“After going through a season like we did last year, we scored, that’s the bottom line,” Shoemaker coach Ken Gray said. “We had some good runs. I think Johnny Jefferson really stepped it up, Chris Skilang and Savon Porell — I can’t say enough about the sacrifices they’re both making (on the offensive line).”

On the strength of Skilang and Porell — starting linebackers that are also rotating in as offensive guards — and returning all-district defensive tackle Jordan Salinas, the Grey Wolves defense hasn’t missed any steps since losing all-state defensive tackle Diomonic Crawford among others.

“It’s kind of difficult knowing that I’ve got to go against the same people that I work with, but it also gives me a chance to help them get better and help myself get better and stronger and more physical and get ready for the season,” Skilang said of going both ways.

That defense, which ranked sixth in 12-5A last year but was among the top three for the first seven weeks of the season, gave up just six first downs, had five takeaways and four tackles for a loss in four series.

“When you have all-district players like Jordan Salinas on the defensive line, it helps our offensive line work harder and be better,” running back Sye Bennefield said of going against the Grey Wolves defense. “All spring, the offensive line has really been working hard, they’ve been staying after with coach. We just have to trust them and run behind them.”

The offense had two red zone drives but turned the ball over twice on three fumbles in the first series before Blunt, after a pair of strong runs by Bennefield and Jefferson, was finally able to get the offense into the end zone.

That is something Shoemaker struggled with last season — the Grey Wolves averaged 8.9 points a game.

“It’s here, we just still have to put it together,” Gray said of the offense. “Like I told them over there (after the scrimmage), ‘The hard work starts now.’ How much are we going to progress over the summer? That’ll be the difference-maker.

“I know going into the season next year, people will be talking about our losing streak and things like that, we can’t focus on that. We’ve got to focus on Game 1, let’s get better, let’s do this.”Contact Kevin Posival at kposival@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7562.

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