FRISCO — In a dress rehearsal against Frisco Wakeland on Friday, the Denton Broncos showed glimpses of progress and maturity but also showed there is room for improvement.
Denton coach Kevin Atkinson had goals in mind for his team and the players met them to start, but as the scrimmage went on the Broncos struggled with their offensive consistency and their defense couldn’t make drive-ending plays on third down.
“We wanted to be fundamentally sound and execute offensively, and I thought we started off the game doing those things pretty fast,” Atkinson said. “Defensively, we were looking to see if we could align correctly and swarm to the football. We had a lot of youth out there playing in some key areas. We were rotating corners in like crazy. I thought they did a pretty good job at first.”
The first segment of the scrimmage saw each team get two possessions and then switch to defense. Denton junior defense lineman Dailon Holmes’ strong pursuit of the quarterback forced an incompletion and punt on the first series, but the second drive saw Wakeland march 70 yards in six plays for a rushing score.
Denton’s first series opened with a bang as senior running back Deavonte Doucet ripped off a 38-yard run up the middle. After a mix of run and pass plays, senior quarterback Cy Ward’s slant pass was picked off by a linebacker in coverage. Junior quarterback Christian Rodriguez took command of the second series and led Denton to Wakeland’s 8-yard line, but on third-and-goal he was sacked for a 7-yard loss.
On its second possession, Wakeland posted 32-yard and 22-yard runs.
On Ward’s second series at quarterback, the Broncos used a balanced, 10-play drive to score their first touchdown.
In the second half of the scrimmage, the Denton offense began to struggle, as they turned the ball over on a fumble and a tipped interception. The Broncos were unable to convert third-and-short situations, and Atkinson attributed that to inefficiency on first down.
“We had some adversity hit us,” Atkinson said. “We threw an interception and we held to them a field goal, but we had a breakdown on first down and we were stuck in second-and-10. We need to make our kids understand that they have to get yards on first down to make second down and third down easier.”
On Wakeland’s second-half possessions, its offense was in tune and efficient while Denton’s inexperienced defense struggled to match its speed and physicality.
Denton will look to clean up the turnovers, mental errors and minor mistakes before its first game of the season at Dallas Bishop Lynch at 7 p.m. Friday.
“They are very coachable,” Atkinson said. “I’m excited. The effort was there all the way around. There wasn’t any lay-down in anybody. We are a much more mature team with the intensity, and we just have to find a way to get a crucial stop.”
PATRICK HAYSLIP can be reached at 940-566-6873 and via Twitter at @PatrickHayslip.