Inside the Game: Hargrave, Part II

CHATHAM, Va. --- Hargrave Military Academy clearly outmatched Walter Reed on Saturday in the Military Bowl. In what head coach Robert Prunty called its "most complete game," Hargrave won 56-0.

After the first quarter, Hargrave, which punted once during the game, was up 29-0 and began to substitute its starters. The entire second team was on the field by the third quarter.

Because of the game's lopsided nature, the coaches and referees agreed to shorten the third and fourth quarters to 10 minutes from 15 and to use a modified running clock.

Role

Hargrave's roster includes seven players that are being heavily recruited by North Carolina. Two of them, though, didn't participate in Saturday's contest.

UNC verbal commitment Johnnie Farms sat out Saturday's game – and may miss the remainder of the season – with a staph infection. Robert Kearny, a defensive tackle who has recently garnered UNC's interest, missed the game for disciplinary reasons.

UNC pledge D.J. Bunn, Ego Ferguson, and Josh Watson started on defense at strong safety, strong-side end, and strong-side tackle (three-technique), respectively. Bunn saw almost every defensive down of the first half, while Ferguson and Watson played the entire first quarter but were used sparingly, mostly on key plays, during the second quarter.

Bunn probably saw more plays than anyone on Hargrave's roster. In addition to his defensive duties, he had a role on the kick and punt return units.

A couple of weeks ago, Bunn was moved from cornerback to strong safety, a position he feels most comfortable at and expects to play in college.

Bunn was in zone coverage for most of his reps. Early on, he played a deeper zone in cover-3 and cover-4 coverage. But later – mostly the second quarter – he played closer to the line-of-scrimmage where he became responsible for the right (strong-side) flat and even appeared to be in man coverage on a few occasions.

UNC pledge Jerrell Rhodes started at tailback. Although he only played the first two drives, it's obvious he's the feature back. On pass plays, he was kept in for pass protection.

Prince Kent served as the free safety for the second team defense, where he played a centerfielder role. He didn't see his first defensive play until after halftime, but did play the entire second half.

Kent also was on the punt return team along with Bunn and was the second team punt returner.

Big Play

Rhodes' best play actually came on the first play from scrimmage. From a two-tight I-formation, Hargrave ran an "iso" with Rhodes to the right side, however, a defensive lineman got penetration at the point-of-attack. Seeing that, Rhodes bounced to the left and eventually got outside.

"I saw there was nothing [on the right side], so I tried to see if there was anything open on the other side," Rhodes said.

Rhodes' speed allowed him to run roughly 14 yards untouched, and then a stiff-arm bought him five extra yards.

Statistics

J.R. Rhodes: 3 carries for 42 yards; plus he ran in a two-point conversion and had an 11-yard run called back because of a holding penalty
D.J. Bunn: 4 tackles (3 solo)
Ego Ferguson: 2 tackles (1 solo) including a sack, and a pass break-up
Josh Watson: 4 tackles (1 solo)
Prince Kent: 1 tackle (0 Solo)

Evaluation

Although Bunn feels more comfortable at safety, he looks more comfortable working as a cover-two cornerback. He seemed to have better awareness when he was covering the flat/underneath zone and lacked the range for oft-bigger deep zones. He does read the run very quickly and aggressively pursues the ball-carrier. Despite rarely missing a tackle, Bunn's tackling technique needs some work – he'll tackle too high at times and uses poor form – almost falling as he attempts the tackle.

Ferguson gets off the line like he's shot out of a cannon. His uncanny speed, explosiveness, and non-stop motor allows him to consistently get into the opponent's backfield. However, he relies too much on his speed and doesn't use technique enough. He closes quickly on the ball-carrier and engulfs the opponent when making the tackle.

Rhodes runs with great vision, picking his holes and lanes wisely. He is a compact runner that navigates well through lanes with impressive footwork, jukes, and patience. He has deceptive speed and is a home run threat every time he touches the ball. He's always conscious of ball security – he'll flip arms and will hold onto the ball with both hands in traffic and upon contact. He falls forward and consistently keeps his legs moving.

All the criticism regarding Watson's work ethic coming out of high school should be put to rest. He played with aggression, to the whistle, and ran down ball-carriers downfield. He possesses tremendous speed and athleticism for his size and uses his hands well to fight through blocks.

Overheard

The UNC verbal commitments are working on scheduling their UNC official visit for the weekend the Tar Heels host Miami (Nov. 14). They have been talking Ferguson into joining them on the trip, which seems to be working.

Suffering from a staph infection, Farms is considering sitting out the rest of Hargrave's football season to put more focus on becoming qualified. He would also help in coaching Hargrave's offensive lineman.

Other Standouts

Deon Long, a wide receiver from Washington (D.C.), scored touchdowns on a 65-yard reception and a 71-yard punt return. Also, the 6-foot-1, 201-pounder returned his first punt 81 yards for a touchdown, but it was called back on a penalty. Long, who is one of Hargrave's starting wide receivers, combines tremendous speed with excellent vision, making him a threat to score every time he touches the ball.

Dylan Farrington, a former teammate of Tar Heel Jared McAdoo at Chapel Hill (N.C.) High, caught his team-leading fourth interception of the season Saturday. The 6-foot, 195-pounder starts at free safety for Hargrave where he showed off great range and coverage ability.

Check back tomorrow for video highlights from this game ...


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