It’s really just a big practice session.

The Seguin Matadors hosted Hays Friday night at Matador Stadium in their first competition against  someone other than themselves for the 2019 football season.

The teams alternated series on offense and defense for the first couple of hours, then played an actual quarter to close out the night.

Head coach Travis Bush scheduled two scrimmages this season, as opposed to playing last spring, to get more work in for his young squad.

“Looking back to last year and the slow start, starting out 0-2, I thought we needed some scrimmages to get us prepared,” Bush said. “Hays and Cuero will do that — they were big and physical, and what they do offensively and defensively is physical by nature.” 

Starting on the 25-yard-line, both the offenses looked solid, scoring five touchdowns each throughout the evening.

“I thought it was pretty evenly matched and we really went back and forth,” Bush said. “We got exposed on some things, so we’ve got to get in better condition, and we got tired and had several penalties and plays called back.”

Bush is starting several underclassmen to replace starters that graduated last year on the defense, and it gave up some big plays, but also created four turnovers on the night.

“The positives are the defense got the ball and got some turnovers,” Bush said. “That’s the motto of the defense this year, ‘get the ball’. We’re young, and less experienced, so we’ve got to create turnovers.

“We’re going to be undersized and young against everyone we play, so we’ve got to make things happen. To see them come out here with that mentality and create four turnovers — it’s nice to see them buy into it.”

The coach used the night to evaluate players on both sides of the ball.

“We’ll have to see it on film, but the effort was good,” Bush said. “To see some of those young guys step up and be physical against that offense, that’s what we wanted, to see who could get in there and make some plays.”

Starting senior quarterback Jhalen Mickles threw several deep balls on the night, completing a couple of them for big gains and throwing for 200 yards on the night.  He also ran the ball effectively, getting the fans in attendance pumped up when he threw a defender to the ground at the end of one of his runs.

“He made some good plays, but he did some things we can learn from,” Bush said. “The one interception in the red zone was key, he was a little late on the throw.”

“He could’ve made some better decisions in the pocket, but overall he played good and protected the ball.”

Mickles scored on a run, sophomore Jervin Contreras caught a touchdown on a screen, junior running back Marcus Washington ran for two scores, and wide receiver Dillion Gutierrez caught a ball for a score.

Junior Micah Rodriguez alternated time with Mickles at the quarterback spot, but made a big impact on the defensive side of the ball, where he was all over the field and picked off a pass that was tipped by four different players before he came down with it.

“He’s a little competitor,” Bush said. “He’s one of those that has to start somewhere, he’s too good to sit on the bench as a backup quarterback, so we found him a spot at free safety.

“He’s smart and a coach’s son, so he has great instincts and does a good job for us.”

The goal for the night was to see how the team stacked up against someone other than themselves.

“It was a gage to see where we’re at,” Bush said. “That was the key, to come out on the first scrimmage and see what we looked like. We got some things that we can see on film, learn from tomorrow, and see what we need to get better at.”

The Matadors travel to Cuero, last year’s 4A state champion, on Thursday night for the final scrimmage of the season. Seguin opens the season at SA Antonian on Friday, August 30.

Kevin Duke is the sports editor for the Seguin Gazette. He can be contacted by e-mail at sports@seguingazette.com

 

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