GREENVILLE – Versailles took advantage of some Greenville mistakes to outscore the Green Wave 21-7 in a football scrimmage on Friday night in Greenville.
In the final competition before the regular season begins, both Greenville coach Aaron Shaffer and Versailles coach Adam Miller saw room for improvement from their teams. However, they both said they expect their squads to be ready to go when week one begins.
“Defensively I thought we played really well,” Miller said. “I liked the way we came out and liked our intensity. We came out and played physical. That’s a good sign. A bad sign is we are still hurting ourselves. Greenville has some good talent, some good players, so they’re going to cause you to do some things, but we’re still making mistakes that they aren’t forcing us to do. So we’ve got to get that cleaned up.”
While Miller wanted to see the Tigers clean up some mistakes, such as a fumble the Green Wave’s Erick Madison recovered to end Versailles’ opening drive, it was Versailles who made Greenville pay for miscues.
After a three and out during its first possession, Greenville fumbled during its second drive. Versailles’ Kurtis Rutschilling scooped up the loose ball and raced 60 yards for a touchdown to put the Tigers up 7-0 midway through the first quarter.
“We were sloppy early,” Shaffer said. “They caught us early in that we were running a little fly sweep and they caught us with a blitz off the edge and hit us on the mesh point.”
Neither team was able to generate much offense the rest of the first half, but another Greenville mistake led to seven more Versailles points.
With just over a minute remaining in the first half, Greenville botched a punt and turned the ball over on downs at its own 11-yard line. One play later Versailles’ Alex Wendel connected with Kyle Subler for a touchdown pass to put the Tigers up 14-0.
“I was very pleased that we were able to take advantage of getting the ball that close to the goal line,” Miller said. “You’ve got to punch it in, and the kids responded well.”
Versailles added to its lead in the second half as the Tigers began the third quarter with a 10-play drive that covered 70 yards in just over five minutes, finishing with a 4-yard touchdown run by Aaron Mangen to make it a 21-0 game.
“I’m very pleased with right out of halftime we had a six-minute drive, whatever it was,” Miller said. “It’s good to have that ball control.”
After going down three scores, Greenville responded as Justin Brown broke free for a 65-yard touchdown run just two plays later to get the Green Wave on the scoreboard at 21-7.
“The good thing was to see our offense go back out there and go,” Shaffer said.
The wet field conditions negated Greenville’s speed much of the night, but Shaffer thought his team’s offensive line did a pretty good job of opening up running lanes.
“Generally speaking I think the offensive line played pretty good tonight,” he said. “There were some things in there they’ve got to fix. You’ve got to get some spacing in your alignments and things like that to create some natural gaps. And that’s some learning stuff that you get on a Friday night.”
Shaffer also was happy with how the Wave defense responded to the Tigers’ new wing-T offense. Being just a scrimmage, Greenville didn’t game plan for Versailles’ offense like it normally would for a regular season game, and the wing-T is a formation the Green Wave aren’t accustomed to seeing.
“Defensively I thought we played pretty well for the most part,” Shaffer said. “That’s a wing-T (offense) and coming out of camp looking at a wing-T that’s got guys going all over the place – I know they’re kind of new at it, but they ran it pretty dang good tonight – but I was pleased with the way the defense played.
“It’s good to see some of that wing-T stuff. It makes you play fundamentally sound defensively.”
After three quarters of varsity action, the junior varsity and freshman squads each had an offensive series, but neither team was able to score.
The final score really didn’t matter to the teams, though, as they’re more focused on getting better and preparing for the regular season, which is less than a week away.
“It’s a scrimmage,” Shaffer said. “It ain’t anything more than that. It’s a glorified practice with a clock running. I’d like to have seen us play better today, but it’s all stuff that I think can get fixed before we go to down to Eaton next week and play.”
After weeks of practice and scrimmaging, Versailles also is ready to get its season started.
“I think we’re ready for Celina,” Miller said. “We’ve kind of been preparing for them for so long that it will be good to actually get in the game week and get the game plan rolling.”
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.