ARCANUM — TJ Powers continually stressed the need for his team to play with more physicality after Brookville imposed its will on both offense and defense in a scrimmage Saturday in Arcanum.
In the varsity portion of Saturday’s scrimmage, Brookville had five touchdowns while Arcanum managed just one. It wasn’t the performance Powers wanted to see from his team, which is capable of playing much better, he said.
“We got beat physically on both sides of the ball, I felt, upfront. Just I feel physically we got beat,” Powers said. “I think there were some flashes of good things, but I think what happened was it exposed a lot of our weaknesses today.”
Not all of the Trojans’ problems originated at the line of scrimmage, Powers said, and he put some of the blame on himself.
“Football is a physical game,” the Arcanum coach said. “I just thought physically we didn’t play real well today. I just didn’t feel like we were ready to play today. I take responsibility for that. As a head coach, that’s my fault.”
Arcanum’s problems began early in the scrimmage. During the Trojans’ first set of eight offensive plays, they fumbled the pitch on an option play that went astray. They then proceeded to move into Brookville territory but couldn’t score any points.
In Brookville’s first offensive series, the Blue Devils advanced 50 yards in eight plays but also came up empty.
Arcanum’s ensuing possession only netted 6 yards as another botched pitch negated the progress the Trojans had made.
Brookville scored the first touchdown of the day on its second possession, gaining 70 yards in six plays with an 18-yard touchdown run for the day’s first score.
Arcanum’s junior varsity offense provided a spark for the Trojans with Christian Layman scoring on a 68-yard run. But the young Trojans also had issues with ball security and lost a fumble in their set of 10 plays.
Brookville’s junior varsity also scored on a long run with a 67-yard touchdown. The Blue Devil junior varsity squad was moving the ball again when one of its players went down with a leg injury, which delayed the scrimmage for about 25 minutes and resulted in the player being taken away by an ambulance.
When the scrimmage resumed, the varsity squads went to a down-and-distance format with each offense gaining first downs for advancing the ball 10 yards like a regulation game.
Arcanum failed to gain a first down on its first drive with another fumble contributing to a Trojan punt.
Starting from its own 45-yard line, Brookville’s offense then took just three plays to score with a 46-yard touchdown run.
After Arcanum gained 1 yard on its next possession, the Trojans again punted the ball. Brookville went 75 yards in 10 plays in its next possession, which was capped off with a 14-yard touchdown run.
“They were just caving the edge on us,” Powers said. “They got the edge whenever they wanted with their belly play and power play.”
After going three-and-out for the third consecutive possession, Arcanum again punted. Brookville went 75 yards in four plays on the ensuing drive, scoring on a 61-yard touchdown run.
Arcanum’s problems with ball security again plagued the Trojan offense on the next possession with Brookville recovering a backwards pass that dropped to the ground.
“We were a little sloppy with the football,” Powers said.
While Arcanum turned the ball over in its own territory, the Trojan defense did step up and hold Brookville scoreless.
After taking over on downs, Arcanum went three-and-out again and punted.
In the next Brookville possession, Arcanum’s Daniel O’Donnell intercepted a pass and returned it 80 yards for a touchdown. But the score was wiped out by a Trojan penalty. Two plays later, Brookville scored on a 3-yard touchdown run to complete an 11-play, 67-yard drive.
Arcanum’s varsity had its best possession on the next drive as the Trojans drove 70 yards on eight plays with Brandon Kinney scoring on a 17-yard touchdown run for the first varsity touchdown of the day for Arcanum.
The teams then completed the scrimmage with the junior varsity squads taking the field. Brookville’s offense scored on a 60-yard touchdown run but also coughed up a fumble.
Arcanum’s junior varsity offense also fumbled the ball in its 10-play possession but moved the ball, advancing to the Brookville 2-yard line before its drive ended.
“I thought our younger guys played really well,” Powers said. “We made some mistakes, but I thought they got after it.”
While physicality was a big problem on Saturday, Powers said, he’ll have to watch the game film to determine what all went wrong. Whatever the problems are, he’s confident the Trojans will bounce back and be ready for Friday’s scrimmage against Troy Christian and then their week one game against Northridge.
“We’ve got to do a lot of improvement between now and Friday and more improvement between next Friday and week one,” Powers said. “And I believe we will. Our guys, we have a good group of guys. We’ll do that.”
Arcanum’s has a great group of guys, Powers said, and the potential to be a very good football team. While Saturday’s scrimmage didn’t show much of that potential, he said he knows his team will respond and improve.
“I’m just looking for a drastic improvement in the physicality of our team next week,” Powers said. “The good thing is this doesn’t count. It only counts mentally and to get you better. That’s why you have scrimmages … because you have to get tuned up for the real game.”