Fayetteville and Greenwood faced off for the third consecutive year in a preseason scrimmage on Monday. The latest exhibition matchup, played at Harmon Stadium, had several sloppy moments early as both teams combined for five turnovers in the first half.
The Purple Bulldogs eventually showed off the most muscle, winning the three quarters of the varsity scrimmage, 28-21.
Here are some top takeaways from Monday night….
Fayetteville gets a lot of publicity and top billing for its offense, but the defense actually did some of the better work against Greenwood. The Purple’Dogs forced several 3-and-outs to start the game, intercepted Arkansas QB commit Connor Noland on his first series of the game and limited Greenwood to almost no offense through the first quarter.
Taylor Powell is still Taylor Powell. The Fayetteville senior QB completed 26 of 37 passes for 276 yards and four TDs, and those numbers came in about a half of a regulation game.
Powell’s favorite target is clearly senior wide receiver Barrett Banister, who hauled in over 10 catches for more than 100 yards and three TDs. The Purple’Dogs have many weapons in the receiving corps, with Brennan Lewis, Harry Shipley, Cody Gray and others making the passing game one of the best around. But it’s clear Powell has the most trust in Banister.
Fayetteville still runs a no-huddle, spread offense under first year coach Bill Blankenship. But it doesn’t appear like the Bulldogs plan on running the offense at a warp speed pace the way they ran things a season ago.
Rugby Young missed the one field goal attempt on the night for Fayetteville – a 30-yard attempt – and not many kickoffs reached the endzone. So an improvement in the kicking game and taking care of the ball (two fumbles) are some areas Fayetteville can improve on.
Running back Terrance Rock (concussion) was held out of Monday’s scrimmage. Fayetteville went about 80 percent pass, 20 percent run without Rock, using junior Nate Nolen in his place. Offensive lineman Spencer Stone also missed Monday’s game and with Rock and Stone out of the lineup the running game wasn’t clicking on all cylinders.
Greenwood had just two lengthy, productive drives against Fayetteville’s varsity. One was a 13-play, 51-yard drive just before halftime. The other was at the very end of the varsity portion of the scrimmage when Fayetteville had several backups in on defense.
— Vernon Tarver