It looked like that was going to be the case again Friday night after Hunter Cantwell led the Louisville offense on an 11 play, 70 yard drive that was capped by a 5 yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Scott Long on the first drive of the annual Red-White spring scrimmage.
But the first team Louisville defense stepped up after that first score and stopped the No. 1 offense on its two other first half possessions. Aided by two first half sacks by defensive tackle Adrian Grady, combined with some untimely offensive penalties and the first team defense trailed the first team offense just 7-5 at the half.
After the break, the first team defense held the offense to a 35 yard Ryan Payne field goal on the first possession then got a stop on the next possession when cornerback Johnny Patrick broke up a pass on third and long. Trent Guy and Victor Anderson added late touchdowns in the overtime portion of the scrimmage to give the offense a 38-17 win with 17,200 fans looking on at PJCS.
Scott Long in the first half.
"I thought our defense did some good things in the middle part of the scrimmage," Steve Kragthorpe said. "The offense came out on the first drive and took it down and scored. But then our defense stepped up. Then the offense closed with a little bit of a flurry in the overtime situation."
"I thought we had a nice tempo and a good crowd. We wanted to have our guys in a game day situation and I thought they responded well. I thought we tackled pretty good early in the game but we need to tackle better as the game progresses."
"What pleased me was that we got presser on the passer with a four-man pass rush," Kragthorpe said. "I think we're getting better on (defense). I think we've made a significant amount of progress on both sides of the ball this spring."
Hunter Cantwell completed 11 of 18 passes for 103 yards. He threw one touchdown to Scott Long on the opening drive of the night. With the 6-5 senior in control, the offense racked up 403 yards total offense, 201 yards on the ground.
Brock Bolen led the Cardinals ground attack with 76 yards on 13 tackles. Bilal Powell rushed for 69 yards on 8 carries, while Victor Anderson rushed for 62 yards and a score. Scott Long caught four passes for 28 yards and a touchdown. Nine different receivers caught passes for 200 yards with Maurice Clark and Troy Pascley also catching touchdown passes.
With Cantwell a lock at quarterback the race for the No. 2 job between Matt Simms and Tyler Wolfe was a virtual draw. Simms, as he has all spring, played the first series with the second team. Simms, who was sacked twice, completed 3-of-4 passes for 52 yards and a touchdown. Wolfe completed 3-of-5 passes for 45 yards and one touchdown.
"In the passing game we need to continue to work on our timing and execution," Kragthorpe said. "The pieces are there we've just got to execute a little better than what we did."
Scout Team Offensive Player of the Year: Matt Simms
Scout Team Defensive Player of the Year: Zach Kiernan
Team Captain Award: Brian Brohm, Art Carmody, Harry Douglas, Breno Giacomini, Deon Palmer and Eric Wood
Offensive Coaches Award: Gary Barnidge
Defensive Coaches Award: Preston Smith
Newcomer of the Year: Doug Beaumont
Special Teams Player of the Year: Art Carmody
Scholar Athlete of the Year: Danny Barlow
Offensive Player of the Year: Harry Douglas
Defensive Player of the Year: Lamar Myles
Lenny Lyles Team MVP: Brian Brohm