April 12, 2013
Cullowhee, N.C. - Under cloudless skies and seasonably warm temperatures, the Western Carolina Catamount football team held its 11th practice session of the spring on Friday afternoon, holding its second scrimmage session within the last week at E.J. Whitmire Stadium / Bob Waters Field.
Friday's practice began with individual position work before the team came together for a scrimmage that lasted just under two hours on the turf.
Early in Friday's scrimmage - with the offense backed up in a deep scenario - running back Shaun Warren broke loose for a 25-yard rush with converted tailback David Giron also finding running room, breaking off nearly a 40-yard scamper. However, Giron later fumbled with Reggie Williams pouncing on the bouncing football before tallying a scrimmage-long 45-yard rush on a speed option play.
With Troy Mitchell in the backfield, the quarterback broke free for a 25-yard scramble on a third down and 11 before following up that romp with a 15-yard draw play. On that same drive, though, the WCU defense stiffened as tailback Darius Ramsey was stood up in the hole by De'Von Richardson on a third and short situation with Andre Shishkin finishing off the play, forcing fourth down. Placekicker Richard Sigmon was able to put points on the board, connecting on a 40-yard field goal.
Combined, Sigmon punched through kicks of 40, 32 and 30 yards with a couple of extra points while Blake Metcalf connected on field goals of 28 and 30 yards, adding three extra points.
On an ensuing drive, wide receiver - and Murphy, N.C., native - Seth Curtis hauled in a pass, but was stripped by Richardson who fell on the loose football for the defense's second takeaway of the session.
Splitting snaps with Mitchell, quarterback Eddie Sullivan reeled off a 30-yard run on a draw play on one of his first times in the backfield. He later completed a 26-yard pass to wideout Karnorris Benson before scoring on a five-yard touchdown run with Sigmon again connecting on the extra point
Walk-on quarterback Jonah Duggan completed a 30-yard swing pass to Giron out of the backfield on one of his first drives of the scrimmage. However, the defense would ultimately stiffen with consecutive sacks by linebacker Jeff Lucas and defensive end Keensen Chambers. The stops led to a 32-yard field goal Sigmon, his second three-pointer of the scrimmage.
The defensive unit came up with another turnover when corner Jaleel Lorquet intercepted Sullivan, returning the pick 35 yards before Sullivan made the stop.
Duggan resumed control of the offense, rushing for 27 yards before the defense again came up with a pair of sacks. Defensive back J.D. Polk and linebacker Devin Gates brought down Duggan in the backfield before the signal caller was able to slip through for a 13-yard run on a third and 11 situation. Later in that drive after another long Duggan rush, Giron put the first TD on the board with a one-yard plunge with Metcalf punching through the extra point.
Defensive lineman Brian Johnson got in on the sack party by bringing Mitchell down behind the line before later recovering a fumble. Returning from an elbow injury that sidelined him in 2012, Shishkin tallied a sack on Mitchell as a part of a strong effort.
Other offensive highlights included Duggan scoring on a four-yard touchdown rush with Sigmon tacking on the extra point, while freshman tailback Garry Lewis ripped off a 20-yard run for a score.
Western Carolina will take the weekend off before beginning its final week of spring drills on Monday with the first of four practices. The Catamounts are slated to practice in shells (helmets and shoulder pads) on Monday and Friday with fully-padded practices on Wednesday ahead of Saturday's Spring Game event on April 20.