JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Oct. 17, 2014) – The ETSU football team participated in a closed scrimmage Thursday night as the Buccaneers prepare to be on the road next Thursday night, Oct. 23, for a Blue-Gold scrimmage game at Dobyns-Bennett High School’s J. Fred Johnson Stadium.
The day will have a definitive ETSU feel, as legendary ETSU football head coach John Robert Bell will be inducted into the Dobyns-Bennett Alumni Association’s Hall of Fame at a luncheon earlier in the day. The start of the Blue-Gold scrimmage will follow at 6 p.m. that evening, and admission is free to the public.
“We are really excited to be coming to Kingsport,” said ETSU head coach Carl Torbush, whose team will also have a public on-campus scrimmage at 3 p.m. on Nov. 1 during Homecoming. “This is about showing the entire region that our team is East Tennessee’s team. We are playing for our entire region and building something everyone can be proud of.
“To be coming to Kingsport on the same day that Coach Bell is inducted into the Kingsport Sports Hall of Fame is perfect timing. Coach Bell coached some of the most successful teams in our program’s history, and what he did with the 1969 team will always be remembered.”
The 1969 team certainly has a special place in the hearts and minds of ETSU fans. That season, the Bucs went undefeated, finishing the year at 10-0-1, and defeated Terry Bradshaw and his Louisiana Tech team 34-14 in the Grantland Rice Bowl.
Even today, Bell is remembered on campus as anyone who enters the west side of the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center must cross a road named after the former coach – John Robert Bell Drive. ETSU athletics will have a contingent of administrative staff in attendance for Thursday’s luncheon.
As this special day nears, the Bucs continued preparations with another scrimmage on Thursday night. The team took advantage of the indoor capabilities of the Dome and stayed out of the elements to go through an 80-play scrimmage.
It was a game of extremes, with the defense forcing five turnovers and returning two of those turnovers for touchdowns, while the offense had explosive scoring plays that included a 41-yard touchdown run by freshman tailback Zach Casey (Kingsport) and a 46-yard touchdown pass from freshman quarterback Hagen Owenby (Powell) to freshman wide receiver Hayden Welch (Lancaster, Ohio).
Scoring plays also included a 37-yard touchdown reception by freshman wide receiver Drake Powell (Clinton) on a pass from freshman quarterback Jared Drake (Westerville, Ohio), while Casey added a second 2-yard score.
On the defensive side of the ball, freshman linebacker Kahlil Mitchell (South Pittsburg) intercepted a pass from freshman quarterback Demetrius Anthony (Fountain Inn, S.C.) early in the scrimmage and returned it 18 yards for a score. In addition, the Bucs also forced a fumble in the second half and returned it to the end zone, where Toy’Shaun Winton (Strawberry Plains) got credit for the touchdown.
Offensively, Casey led the way with 69 yards rushing on eight carries while freshman tailback Cole Notgrass (Murfreesboro) collected 43 yards on five runs. Drake finished the game with 81 yards passing and a touchdown, while Welch ended the night with a team-best four catches for 68 yards.
For more on ETSU football throughout the 2014-15 school year, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the football link.
Colder 1-yard run
Powell 37-yard pass from Drake
Mitchell 18-yard interception return
Casey 2-yard run
Jones 2-yard pass from Anthony
Casey 41-yard run
Welch 46-yard pass from Owenby
Winton 20-yard fumble return
Rushing – Casey 8-69, Notgrass 5-43, Drew 3-23, Drake 2-15, Colder 4-14, Lankford 5-12, Owenby 4-3, Sexton 2-1
Passing – Drake 7-13-0 81, Owenby 4-6-0 68, Sexton 5-7-0 23, Anthony 4-10-1 13
Receiving – Welch 4-68, Powell 3-49, Notgrass 1-22, Wike 2-17, Lankford 1-16, Jones 2-10, Drew 1-8, Morgan 2-7, Moore 2-6, York 1-5