By Josh Troy
New Coahoma County High School head football coach, Jeremiah Brassell, kept things simple to learn more about what his athletes were capable of during a scrimmage at home Thursday night against Madison Shannon Palmer High School. The Red Panthers’ youth showed in a 20-8 loss to the Dragons.
Approximately 30 Coahoma County athletes dressed for the game, but Brassell expects to have a total of 45 to 50 on the roster when the season starts. He said he did not let players who missed practice see action on the field Thursday. “If you’re not at practice, you’re not playing,” Brassell said.
The scrimmage consisted of three 15-minute periods with a running clock. Madison Shannon Palmer took an 8-0 lead on a 7-yard touchdown pass and a 2-point conversion with 4:12 remaining in the second period. The Dragons made the 2-point conversion on a running play. The final two Madison Shannon Palmer touchdowns to extend the lead to 20-0 came in the third period. One score came on a 40-yard touchdown pass with 5:45 remaining, and the other came on a Red Panthers fumbled snap at the 2:05 mark.
However, Coahoma County put together a scoring drive in the final minutes of the game. Senior quarterback Devonta Boyd ran for a touchdown on a scramble from approximately 25 yards out with 1:20 to play in the contest. Sophomore Caleb Hearn, the backup quarterback, ran in the 2-point conversion to cut the Dragons’ lead to 20-8. Sophomore receiver Kendarious Simms and senior slot player Ja’shun Handy caught passes from Boyd on the drive to set up the score.
“The potential is there,” Brassell said. “My problem is we’ve got to finish getting these kids out here, and it shows that we weren’t consistent in getting the same unit out here every day for practice. But overall, that last drive, they showed when they do what I ask them to do, we can move the ball. But we have only about six seniors next year, so this team is very young.”
Brassell acknowledged the play calling was different on the scoring drive than the rest of the scrimmage. “To be honest, I kept it very simple because it’s just a jamboree,” he said. “I didn’t open up the playbook. I just wanted to see if we could do a few things. The last drive, I just let Boyd play to more of his comfort, getting him on the edge and rolling out and dinking and dunking. I didn’t want to see so much of that tonight. I wanted to see more drop-back game when we did pass. We only ran the ball a few times because I figured next year that will be a strength.”
Brassell said the plan is to groom Hearn to be the starting quarterback and move Boyd to the receiver position. He added that if the regular season started today, Boyd would be the quarterback. Brassell left the scrimmage optimistic about the 2023 season.
“I feel that next year’s team is going to be pretty good,” Brassell said. “I don’t put much into a scrimmage game because it’s just that, a scrimmage game. And you don’t want to show too much. You just want to work on the basics. Quitman County (Madison Shannon Palmer) was physical. That’s one part that I like that we need to get to, get physical.
“We’ve got to grow, and that’s one thing that I will do, and I promise you we’re going to do. As a team, we’re going to grow, and on this field, we’re going to grow, so we’re going to deliver a product on this field that you all can be proud of in August.”
Brassell talked about the Red Panthers’ strengths and weaknesses. “The strength is we have the athletes,” he said. “The weakness right now is our big guys’ physicality. That’s something we’re going to work on all summer. We don’t have one senior on the offensive line.”
Brassell said Coahoma County will be attending camps during the summer to gain experience.