By Clay Fowler
Killeen Daily Herald
CEDAR PARK The Shoemaker Grey Wolves got their first taste of 5A football Saturday and it was sweet.
SHS's scrimmage with Cedar Park served as a barometer in several respects. The Grey Wolves got their feet on the ground heading into the 2004-05 season in their first action since making the jump from 4A over the summer, but for SHS coach Ken Gray, his team's dominance of their hosts carried a deeper meaning than that.
"I'm especially happy for my coaches, the ones that were here with me the first two years (2000-2001)," Gray said. "We played Cedar Park then and they pretty much had their way with us. So this is an indicator of how far we've come and that this program is really moving forward."
The Wolves turned the tables on Cedar Park this time around, clearly getting the better of their opponent during the controlled scrimmage.
Shoemaker's first offensive unit tallied two touchdowns in its only two opportunities. Beginning from their own 30-yard line in each instance, SHS drove the remaining 70 yards to convert well-earned scores.
Shoemaker junior quarterback Keith Smith, a second-year starter, was sharp the two series he played. The 6-3, 200-pound signal-caller completed 5-of-8 passes for 108 yards, one of which put the finishing touch on Shoemaker's initial scoring drive, Smith finding receiver Contrevious Parks on a seam route for a 40-yard touchdown. After beating his defender, Parks slipped inside the safety where the well-protected Smith hit him in stride at the 20-yard line, allowing Parks to outrun the defense to the goal line completing a six-play drive.
The Grey Wolves continued on offense after putting up the first points of the scrimmage, beginning from the opposite 30-yard line, only to march the length of the field in nine plays. A balanced drive culminated in junior running back Chris Poullard's plunge from 4 yards out for the second SHS score in as many chances.
The Grey Wolves racked up 116 yards on the ground during the scrimmage, averaging 6.4 per carry.
"I was very pleased with the way they moved the ball," Gray said. "Our offensive line impressed me protecting the quarterback and blocking the run. We've really got a solid nucleus in place up front."
The SHS defense couldn't claim the perfection of the offense, but they were in the vicinity.
The first-string defenders allowed only a single touchdown on a nine-play 80-yard drive, while forcing five turnovers. In fact, the Grey Wolves intercepted Cedar Park quarterback Kory Washington's first pass before causing and recovering a fumble to end the Timberwolves' ensuing attempt at a drive.
Shoemaker's defense picked off two more passes in addition to forcing another fumble, but proved fairly vulnerable to the Cedar Park ground game. The SHS first unit allowed four consecutive running plays of 10 yards or more during a late-scrimmage drive, cause for concern, but Cedar Park coughed up its final fumble of the day near the Grey Wolves goal line, which Shoemaker pounced on to end the threat.
"For our first scrimmage, I thought we looked much better than the last two years," senior defensive tackle Roy Miller said. "We showed that we can play at (the 5A) level for four quarters. We're in great shape. Everything is just falling into place.
"And it's just the beginning. All we're going to do is get better."
Contact Clay Fowler at firstname.lastname@example.org