08/29/12 — Gators do some good things in Lejeune loss

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Gators do some good things in Lejeune loss

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on August 29, 2012 1:51 PM

Spring Creek's football players might have felt a little stung when they reviewed the game film from Friday's loss against Lejeune, but they returned to practice with a workman-like effort Monday afternoon.

In fact, they've been workman-like all season.

Gators' head coach Aaron Sanders wishes he could speed up the maturity of his team, though.

The Gators started three juniors and two sophomores on the offensive line against the Devilpups. They were even younger on the D-line with two first-year players, Jackson Pulley and Xavier Aycock, participating in their first-ever varsity contest.

Anthony Henriquez was the lone experienced lineman in either bunch.

"We've got four seniors on our football team and the rest are going to be back next year," Sanders said. "They're a good group of kids ... not many of them and we're not very deep. We've been practicing for four weeks now and we're having good weeks of practice.

"I told the team we're making lots of improvement. Anybody who saw us last year and have seen us play this year can tell we're making a lot of improvement."

There were positives to surface against the Devilpups.

The defense recorded seven tackles for a loss and delivered three fumble hits, but Lejeune managed to hold on to the ball each time.

Linebacker Jesus Briones, defensive end Jordan Hicks and Henriquez combined for a pair of crucial third-down stops on the Devilpups' first possession of the second half. But Lejeune converted twice on fourth down and punched in its fifth score of the night.

"We had two opportunities to get off the field and we couldn't quite do it," Sanders said. "That could have changed the outcome of the game somewhat. When you play teams that come straight at you, you don't see that a whole lot.

"You can have a hard time getting off blocks, filling alleys and making plays. I'm glad we saw it early (in the season) instead of late."

The offense has improved.

Spring Creek scored just one touchdown in its final 24 quarters of play a year ago. Sanders' team has put three on the board this season, including two against the Devilpups.

Sophomore Tre Hammonds completed a half-back option touchdown pass to Luke Miller, and turned a badly-handled punt snap into a fourth-quarter TD. Hammonds capped a nine-play drive that covered 65 yards and took five minutes off the clock.

Hammonds, quarterback DeVante Faison and Anthony Russo weren't afraid to bully their way up the middle all night. None of the three were afraid to absorb an open-field hit, either.

It's those "little things" that Sanders has seen the first two weeks that have given him the conviction that the football program is headed in the right direction.

"I'm excited," Sanders said. "We're a young football team and I think the players are excited. If we can stay positive as a football team, stay positive as a group of football coaches and stay positive as a community, I think this group will do good things.

"I really do."