By Caleb Slinkard
The Commerce Journal
In one of the more entertaining spring football games in recent memory, the Texas A&M University-Commerce Blue team (offense) defeated the White team (defense) 36-35 after running 23 drives.
A unique scoring system awarded the defense for stopping the offense and forcing turnovers, while the offense received points for the more traditional touchdowns, extra points and field goals.
“We didn’t have any injuries, which pleases me the most; to get out of spring ball with few injuries,” first year head coach Colby Carthel said. “There were some big hits and some good turnovers defensively. Offensively, we were able to put some points on the board.”
The game at Memorial Stadium featured legendary A&M-Commerce Hall-of-Famers Ernest Hawkins and Sam McCord as honorary coaches. Hawkins, the all-time winningest coach in Lion history, coached the Blue team to victory. McCord is a former player and assistant coach for the Lions.
Senior quarterback Deric Davis started the game and played through the first quarter, demonstrating poise in the pocket and a strong, if inaccurate, arm. Junior Justin Gomez and freshman Josh Brown also received some reps behind the helm, but freshman Trever Lasseter, a graduate of Lone Oak High School, played almost a quarter and a half, throwing two interceptions and three touchdowns.
According to Carthel, there is no player leading the quarterback competition.
“We don’t have a frontrunner right now; it will be an open competition going into the fall,” he said. “Those guys are going to work hard during the offseason and the summer and evaluate them. We’re going to take the spring into account; there were some good things and bad things out of all of them. It’s still an open competition.”
Senior running back Aaron Wingfield was active out of the backfield, and is one of the leading candidates to take over the reins as starting running back. Senior Garrett Smith caught two touchdowns for the Blue team, and freshman Ricky Pelzer scored on a 42-yard pass.
Defensively, senior defensive linemen Tevin Moore and Jake Williams locked up the inside, and sophomore defensive back Devarus Shores was all over the field, breaking up multiple passes. Senior defensive back Joel Wren recorded an interception.
While the offense was productive in spurts, the defense forced several three-and-outs in a row.
“It was very vanilla out here, so they need to keep learning and start playing faster,” Carthel said of his players on both sides of the ball.
The Lions will begin their season on Sept. 7 against Sul Ross State at Memorial Stadium at 6 p.m. Their schedule features five home games and a trip to Canyon to face off against Carthel’s former team, West Texas A&M.