“This will be true for some time,” said Coach E.K. Slaughter on Saturday.
The major question is: Are the Blue Raiders as good as they appeared Friday, or is East Hamilton not as good as they had hoped? It could be a little of both.
One Cleveland fan summed it up as he was leaving the stadium following Friday’s scrimmage: “Well, we have to agree that we’re better than we were last year,” he said.
Coach Slaughter agrees that his team is much improved over where the Raiders were a year ago in preseason.
The biggest improvements, according to the Blue Raiders’ coach is the energy, enthusiasm and confidence ... which was evident Friday evening. “I’m excited about the team’s attitude,” Slaughter said as he praised the team’s scrimmage performance.
The Blue Raiders displayed an abundance of quick-strike ability on the ground and through the air. “Its good when we have a balance of the two,” said the Cleveland coach.
Although scoring and statistics were not compiled for the game, Cleveland held approximately a 10-to-1 edge over the green and white Hurricanes when the workout was concluded.
Coach Slaughter and his staff were able to use a majority of their personnel in the game.
The Blue Raiders’ defense kept the visitors bottled up throughout the evening, except for a short slant pass for a touchdown early in the scrimmage. This scoring play was a good throw and an even-better catch.
Slaughter had some kind words for his defense, although he had not yet reviewed the film, on Saturday. He said he felt Heath Shamblin and Brandon Kaylor played well.
The Blue Raiders had approximately 10 scoring plays during the scrimmage, most from long distance.
Quarterback Chad Voytik riddled the East Hamilton second with impressive throws, a majority of these for sizable gains and several for long touchdowns.
Voytik, considered one of the state’s outstanding high school prospects, has a impressive stable of receivers which increases the Raiders’ offensive potential. These talented receivers include Nate Bradford, Labron Sadler, Robert Pillow, Jeremy Simpson, Brandon Strickland and others. The running backs may also be involved in the offensive passing game.
Voytik opened his passing display early in the scrimmage with a strike to Bradford for a 62-yard score.
Tailbacks were another highlight of Friday’s scrimmage, especially the break-away threat and speed of transfer Jamarcus Mobley. Mobley dashed away from the East Hamilton secondary on four runs of more than 50 yards, one 80 yards and another for 70.
Mobley’s first TD run, the 80-yard dash, came on the first play following East Hamilton’s only score. He followed with the 70-yard sprint minutes later.
C.J. Sadler, another small tailback with speed and quickness like Mobley, had some nifty scampers later in the scrimmage.
The Blue Raiders were also impressive on defense. The Hurricanes had some gains through quick-opening holes, but few went for more than minimal yardage. Linebackers and defensive backs met most of these challenges.
Cleveland’s defensive line, with size and physical ability, shut down most of East Hamilton’s offensive efforts and harassed the Hurricanes’ quarterback when he attempted to pass. One good pass down the left sideline put the visitors in position for their lone score.
Slaughter and his staff will review the film of Friday’s scrimmage and get ready for another busy week. The Raiders will workout each afternoon at 3 p.m., prepping for another home scrimmage at 6 p.m. Friday against Boyd-Buchanan.