BROOKVILLE – The weather for the first football scrimmage of the season for Versailles was crisp and cool, but the hitting was hot and heavy as the Tigers battled the Brookville Blue Devils to a virtual stalemate Tuesday morning at Memorial Field.
These two squads could meet up again as they are both in the same division and same region, Division V Region 20 for the Ohio High School Athletic Association playoffs. Last year Versailles finished 5-5 and missed out on the playoffs. Brookville incidentally finished with the same record at 5-5 but made the playoffs, losing to Coldwater in the first round, 47-13.
A crowd of about 100 witnessed Tuesday’s two-hour-plus scrimmage with Versailles bringing out 55 players while Brookville countered with 46. Versailles plays in the mighty Midwest Athletic Conference while Brookville plays in the Southwestern Division of the Southwestern Buckeye League, the big school division.
The scrimmage started out with a series of 10 plays for both squads with Versailles starting out on offense. The ball started on the 30-yard line for both teams.
Versailles started off on a sweep for 12 yards, pass incomplete and a fumble that Brookville recovered. The fourth play saw a misdirection that netted a big gain to the 8-yard line of Blue Devil land. Next up the quarterback rolled out and threw a dart for a touchdown for the orange and black of Coach Adam Miller. Then the extra point was true for a 7-0 lead.
Brookville started its series of 10, and the first four plays saw two sweeps with no yardage acquired, an off-tackle run for 3 yards and an incomplete pass. Brookville responded with four running plays led by last year’s all-state selection Bailey Wallen. The first pass of the scrimmage was completed for 11 yards, but the 10th play of the Devils only got to the 20 of Tiger land where Versailles took over.
Versailles got its next 10 going and the Tigers’ first four plays netted a total of 7 yards as the Devils’ defense caught fire. The next four plays saw passes incomplete and deflected and a run to the 50-yard line for 3 yards. The last two plays saw Versailles get its first pass completion for 8 yards.
Brookville got the next 10 plays and on the first play Wallen erupted for 15 yards then a pass was complete for 12 yards into Tiger territory. Then another was good to the 37, but the Tigers then stiffened for no gain. Wallen, however, erupted for 34 yards to the 3-yard marker. He then carried it into pay dirt for six, with the PAT being true and knotting it up at 7-7.
The junior varsity got the next bit of action for 10 plays, and Versailles’ young Tigers clawed to a quick touchdown on eight plays, aided by a run off tackle for 28 yards. Two sweeps brought the ball into the promise land for a quick six and a true boot made it 7-0.
Brookville’s young charges advanced to the 39 of Versailles with a series of sweeps and runs up the gut. However, that is as far as the Devils could penetrate the line.
The varsity then took over and went first and 10 in game-like situations as Coach Miller and company watched intently on the field with his first string. Versailles ran three straight running plays for a first down. The next series of plays did not go as planned as the Tigers were intercepted on Brookville’s side of the 50.
Wallen exploded to the 25 of Brookville off-tackle then he and several other running backs popped it down the field with Justin Eyler doing the honors from 4 yards out with the boot being good for a 7-0 count in this series.
Versailles’ second series of first-and-10 plays started off like gangbusters as they throttled the Devils’ line for runs of 12 and 5 yards, respectively, off-tackle. However, on 3rd and 5 Brookville came alive with a pass interception much to the Tigers’ chagrin.
Brookville’s second series of first and 10s consisted of lots of passes and one run off-tackle to no avail. The quarterback of the Devils was sacked two straight downs by the opportunistic Tiger defensive line to stop them at the 27.
Versailles’ third series on the gridiron with chains prove to be the unchaining of the passing game as the Tigers completed two long completions that got them deep into Devil territory. They scored on their eighth play with a run up the middle for a touchdown and the kick was good for a 7-all count.
Versailles’ joys were short lived, unfortunately, on the grassy surface of Memorial Field as Jacob Vore scored on a 70-yard jaunt to make it read 13-7 and the kick was down the middle for a 14-7 mark.
“’For our first scrimmage we did alright, but we need to work on our timing and execution along with cutting down on our turnovers,” Coach Miller said. “We played a very physical team in Brookville and played hard the whole time with no letup in intensity. We only have 55 players out, which is down for us, but the future looks bright as our underclassmen are performing well.”
Versailles native and longtime Brookville head coach Mike Hetrick said, “We did OK for our first scrimmage out as we played a very disciplined and physical football team in the Tigers. This was a good scrimmage for us as they have good size and play in the best conference around.”