August 10, 2002 Goose Creek SC-The boys from Aiken rolled into town bright and early this morning for the much anticipated first scrimmage of the new season. Attendance was very good as about 300 Knights fans and even 40 or 50 Aiken fans made it down for the day.
In true Knight fashion, the boys in red were fired up and ready to rock as if it were Friday night. 63 red helmets lined the Stratford sideline as the scrimmage kicked off with Aiken on offense. I must admit I was very impressed with the overall team speed of Aiken. They ran some very deceptive misdirection plays include an inside reverse trap that I have not seen before. Handed off to the man in motion who handed off the the offside back coming back off tackle being led by the offside guard. It was very successful the first time they ran it, but from then on out it got stuffed in the dirt before it ever got started. This offense will grind a defense down with its speed 4 and 5 yards at a time. Should be a challenge for most defenses to stop. Not much big play stuff, just steady driving down the field.
The Knights first possession was typical with a young QB at the helm. Matt Vaughn took the first possession for a few plays. Completed a couple of passes then Devon Green came in the game. On his first snap as a varsity QB he took the ball 50 yards down the field around the right side and was just barely cut off by the safety who had a good angle on him. This kid shows tremendous speed much like Dwayne Lynah, Deshannon Gamble and A.J. Jones who have been the last three starters for the Knights.
I have to tell you, the Aiken defense is one of the fastest defenses I have seen in some time. They were all over the ball. For the most part they contained Rodney Kinlaw and Patrick Capers but their aggressiveness costs them several big plays on the day . If these guys can learn to stay as aggressive as they are and STAY AT HOME!! on the weak side, they will be tough to contend with. The layout or the scrimmage did not lend itself at all to judging the outcome based on any scoring because they were placing the ball in various spots to test certian play situations. Aiken did score twice on QB sneaks from the 1 yard line though. It appeared the Aiken was concentrating on it's sustained drive and red zone play and the Knights on the passing game from midfield on. Several times the Knights would make a big play to get the ball inside the twenty and it would come back out to mid field so the idea was not to score but the get the passing game down it appeared to me.
I was very impressed with the overall hustle and hitting on defense for the Knights. There are a couple of 270 plus boys at DL positions that are something else. Don't know just yet who they were as I do not have a roster and nobody was wearin numbers today. Derrick Covington was all over the field as was Michaeal Smalls and the Gladness brothers must have had 15 tackles each at the corners. Knights predominately ran a 3/4 defense it appeared. Offensivly I was very impressed with Devon Greens play. He is a natural runner with speed. Matt Vaughn was, as expected the prototype drop back passer. He did run a few option plays but I don't recall him ever keeping the ball. His arm was deadly accurate though with only one Int for the day out of about 20 attempts. He had four twenty plus yard gains on the day.
Overall it was a great day of football with the bright spot being young Devon Green. He will be a great athlete whether he plays at QB, RB or WR.
Next up on Wednesday is Conway, my pick for the Div II title. This should be a much more intense test of the Knights than was today.