Coach Randy Jackson wants to make his annual spring football game a festive event. Grapevine’s spring finale this past Friday had to be moved to Cross Timbers Middle School because of the heavy rains mixed with a field turf surface that had just been installed at Mustang-Panther Stadium.
However, that didn’t deter Jackson moving the show forward. Music, drill teams and even a draft for teams in the second part of the scrimmage highlighted the event. Plus, the game used a scoring system that awarded points for every big play made by both the offense and the defense.
In his second spring, Jackson is starting to see some of these things come together. He called the execution better and believed the intensity was at a higher level. But then again, that’s what any coach is hoping for as he is trying to build it from the bottom.
“It was a good way to end spring,” Jackson said. “Offensively, we’ve got a lot of options with [RalphLauren] McCauley, Madux Middaugh at receiver and Jacobi White at running back. I really think [quarterback] Alan Bowman just continues to handle the offense really well and make good decisions.”
This group is going to get more help. Senior Brandon Coffin (6-0, 185) spent a good portion of his high school career in the secondary. As the spring season went on, Jackson kept watching him and thought he could be a welcomed addition as another receiver.
Finally, Jackson moved him to the offense. It took some time to adjust. But Coffin appeared to be more comfortable. Coffin, though, will still see time in the secondary.
“Our middle school coaches told us that when he was in eighth grade, he was the best player when the ball was in his hands,” Jackson said. “We’re going to have him on the outside off the line. I asked him after the spring game if he liked playing offense. He said after the first couple of weeks of getting used to everything, he seemed to enjoy it.”
Eight is enough
While the trend in football is to rotate players in for downs and distances, a team’s offensive line doesn’t change. That’s one group that must stay together from the opening kickoff to the final whistle.
Jackson doesn’t have a starting five finalized yet. He may not have it until late September when District 6-5A play begins. But he believes he has eight candidates who can play and will give this offense strength at the point of attack. Tanner Gibson will be the center, while junior Keyshawn Simmons (6-2, 290) and Aaron McManus (5-11, 230) should figure into the plans. Jack Barry and Alex Cantu may see time on both the offensive and defensive lines.
“I saw the progress,” Jackson said. “But we have eight guys and maybe a ninth who could play and also give us the depth that we’re looking for. We may know a lot more after our scrimmage [against Denton Ryan].”
Grapevine’s 7-on-7 team has already been through one state qualifier tournament and will have two more in the coming weeks. It’s also starting a 7-on-7 league this week with Hurst L.D. Bell and Flower Mound Marcus.