THOMASVILLE — Thomasville High School’s cheerleaders got their running in Friday night at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
The cheerleaders take the large team flags and run behind the end zone after a touchdown. With the Bulldogs football team scoring TDs in rapid succession Friday night in a spring scrimmage against Mitchell County, there was a lot of running to be had.
The Bulldogs’ took the varsity part of the matchup with a convincing 41-0 margin, and then the younger Bulldogs followed suit with a 14-0 showing in the fourth quarter.
“ I’m happy for them,” Grage said of his players. “I’m not going to downplay it. It’s not a spring scrimmage. It’s a chance to compete against somebody else.”
Parker Beckham, limited to three days of practice because of his baseball obligations, hit D.J. Thurman with a 13-yard touchdown pass to make it 20-0. Malik Harper’s 2-yard run capped a 60-yard drive with just a little over 2 minutes left in the first half, and Joe Williams — cited by several coaches for his play after the game — ran back an interception for another score right before the half.
For the varsity’s score, Beckham rolled to his left, stepped back to avoid a potential sack, and connected with an open Cole Shaw.
Grage challenged his players throughout the spring to be physical, to run the ball well and he wanted them to learn to tackle well.
“We want to do the things we won’t be able to do for the next three months,” he said. “We challenged guys to be physical. We wanted to establish the run game. And we were extremely simple.”
The young bucks, as Grage called them, picked up where their older brethren left off after three quarters.
Rising ninth-grader Messiah Wilson hit Matthew Delarber for a long gain and capped the drive with a TD scamper. Wilson hit Carlos Smith for a 20-yard touchdown pass to end the scoring.
The coach in Grage will stress a few things to his defense.
“I did not think we were super sharp on defense tackling,” he said. “We were a little high a few times. But that’s being nit-picky.”
There’s a lot to like about his defense, Grage acknowledged.
“Our defense is fast, extremely fast,” he said. “They’re fun to watch. We’ve got to stay humble.”
The Bulldogs had 108 players out for spring, including 23 seniors. There also are new coaches — defensive coordinator Justin Montgomery left and Brian Simmons was brought in, among the changes — so Grage had to see how these elements meshed.
“For them to go out and execute the simple stuff, that was our goal,” Grage said of his team.
While the score looked out of hand, Grage pointed out that Dondrial Pinkins had taken the Mitchell County job just prior to spring practice starting.
“They’re going to be a very good team this year,” he said.
Grage, though, also likes how things are shaping up with his team. He praised the work of Shaw, Thurman, Willams and freshman running back Anthony Anderson.
“The future is still bright,” he said.