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Football: Broncos’ Ward gets taste of action as starter in scrimmage

Profile image for By Patrick Hayslip / Staff Writer
By Patrick Hayslip / Staff Writer

No team enjoys losing. With the Denton Broncos tasting their first football competition of the fall as they faced off against Frisco Wakeland, Friday’s scrimmage allowed the Broncos an opportunity to make significant improvement without the true sting of a regular-season loss despite falling to the Wolverines 21-10 in a 24-minute simulated half.

Junior quarterback Cy Ward enjoyed his first throws as the starting quarterback, and his growth within the scrimmage was evident. Ward had a shaky start, as his first few passes were off the mark, but as the scrimmage progressed, he was able to settle down and make a few plays.

“I thought as the scrimmage went on, he started having more of a grasp of the game of football,” Denton head coach Kevin Atkinson said. “This is his first time really to play in an offense that asks the quarterback to do a lot of things. At first, he was noticeably nervous, but as it went on he got noticeably more comfortable, so I’m excited about his future.”

The defense played a solid game and made a few big tackles. However, it was susceptible to a few big plays by the Wolverines including a 17-yard touchdown to a wide-open receiver in the back-left of the end zone. They also allowed a 44-yard touchdown to a receiver streaking down the middle of the field, but Atkinson chalks that up to a simple mistake as opposed to a larger overall problem.

“Most of it was things you are going to learn when you are first going against live action,” Atkinson said. “We are just so young and inexperienced that we couldn’t overcome little fundamentals that you wouldn’t know unless you got put in that position. The encouraging thing is those are correctable. The Cardinal Rule in coaching is don’t ask your kids to do something that they physically can’t do. The good thing is all those errors were mental, not physical.”

Senior cornerback Leon Atkinson was a bright spot for the Broncos’ defense, as he undercut the receiver to make an interception and returning it 49 yards to the Wolverines’ 9-yard line after both teams exchanged turnovers on the two previous plays.

“When something negative happened and we turned it over, our defense was able to get it right back,” Atkinson said. “He made a good play on it. We will swarm to the ball on defense. We need to sure up inside a little bit. We were a little soft. We need some pass-rush techniques versus the run game and when you do that you just open up yourself for gaping holes, and that’s where they kind of got us was in the middle.”

Atkinson remained upbeat about his team’s performance and noted that the team’s progress is headed in the right direction.

“I learned that when we execute our technique and do what we are supposed to do … good things happen,” Atkinson said. “I also learned when we don’t carry out our assignments, we are going to open ourselves up for disappointment. The good news is there were a lot of good things to focus on, and the things that went wrong were easily correctable. They were just minor assignments.”

The Broncos will have a week more of practice before their first home game of the season against Dallas Bishop Lynch at Bronco Field this Friday, and Atkinson is confident in his team’s willingness to get better.

“I think they are going to be eager,” Atkinson said. “We are a hungry team. I think we will have a little focus and concentration throughout the week on assignments. Those three touchdowns, we were playing really, really good. We just got beat. I was just glad to line up against somebody who was faster than you would expect.”

PATRICK HAYSLIP can be reached at 940-566-6873. His e-mail address is