ORANGE PARK - Middleburg High football coach Karl Smeltzer was optimistic about his Bronco team after Saturday's 45 minute full speed scrimmage with Palatka High at the Ridgeview High sponsored …
ORANGE PARK - Middleburg High football coach Karl Smeltzer was optimistic about his Bronco team after Saturday's 45 minute full speed scrimmage with Palatka High at the Ridgeview High sponsored officials clinic.
"We made probably three bad plays on offense and three bad plays on defense, but they were costly," said Smeltzer, as Palatka hit two tight end skinny posts for long touchdowns to down the Broncos 21-7. "We got hung up on the tight end, slot back cross and they made us pay for it."
For the offense, Bronco quarterback Joe Justino had two interceptions to thwart drives as the Bronco running game got gains from backs Tony Todaro, Jay Lane and Laron Bryant.
"Joe has got to learn to float the ball sometimes instead of gunning it," said Smeltzer. "On both of those interceptions, the receiver was behind the defender and Joe just threw a hard ball. He'll get it."
One highlight of the day was a 65 yard left sweep play from Bryant who jetsweeped from right to left then blasted through two downfield defenders before sprinting across the field to paydirt. A penalty flag nullified the play.
"Our two wideouts ran their two defenders into each other and that's what the film shows," said Smeltzer. "I'll take that play, especially for Luron to fight like that on such a hot, humid day."
On defense, senior linebacker Brody Senn opened the contest with a blast tackle on Palatka's first day that led to strong pass rushes from Senn up the middle and Steven Henrikson on the outside.
Trevor Todd showed more pass catching prowess as Justino's best target while Calvin Suggs demonstrated strong pass defense from his cornerback position.
Second string quarterback Luke Padgett filled in for Justino on numerous snaps and even turned a fourth and one into a 12 yard gain.