KSU football conducts first-ever public scrimmage

Brian Jones

Saturday was a historic day for Kennesaw State as the football team took the field for the first public scrimmage.

Despite having practices open to the public, this was the first time students and fans got a chance to see the football team in action. It was also the first time KSU got to experience football in their own backyard on Saturdays, and with over 4,000 fans in attendance, they have been waiting for this day for a very long time.

“What an unbelievable showing from the Kennesaw State fanbase and the Greater Cobb area,” Head coach Brian Bohannon said. “Our kids were excited. It was great to be out here in that kind of environment for the first time ever.”

The gates to Fifth Third Bank Stadium opened at 2:00 p.m. and the fans started to pile in. The festivities began at 3 p.m. with the introduction of the Homecoming Court and 2014 inductees to the Kennesaw State Athletics Hall of Fame.

Then there was a hype video to show what the players have been doing the last eight weeks to prepare for the scrimmage, and that was when the team came out and the place erupted.

The first 15-20 minutes of the scrimmage was just the players stretching and going through individual drills. Afterwards, the 35-minute scrimmage officially began. The defense, who wore the white jerseys, got the upper hand in the first part of the scrimmage as they forced a fumble and defensive end Austin Byrd returned it for a 30-yard score.

But as the scrimmage went on, the offense picked things up as they scored on three of the last four possessions.

“We just need to continue to stay focused,” Safety Taylor Henkle said. “You get a little worn down with the high-paced offense, but we’ll continue to get better and that will pay off in the long run.”

The first score came when running back Christian Rall scored on a 14-yard run to end a 70-yard drive. On the next series wide receiver Tremayne Trawick caught a long touchdown pass from quarterback Jantzen Jeffery. The offense scored another touchdown through the air when quarterback Jake McKenzie connected with Justin Sumpter.

“We’re trying to be different from other option teams,” Sumpter said talking about the option offense the Owls run. “We’re trying to put the ball in the air more. Everybody has to do some blocking at some point, but we get our reward in the end.”

The last score came on the final series of the scrimmage when Cameron Blackburn scored on a touchdown run.

Brian Katrek and Nathan McCreary, the two announcers for the KSU basketball games, co-hosted the event. They did play-by-play of the scrimmage and interviewed Director of Athletics Vaughn Williams and legendary football coach Vince Dooley who spearheaded getting football to KSU.

With the scrimmage in the books, the Owls are back to the practice field, and they will continue to work until Thanksgiving. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be some things to keep the players on their toes since there won’t be another scrimmage.

“We have to find a way to get them through this last phase and a half,” Bohannon said. “They don’t have that scrimmage to look forward to. We’re going to be creative in what we do.”

One of the things Bohannon is going to do is switch the jerseys. The offense will now wear the white jerseys and the defense will wear the gold moving forward.

The next time the Owls are schedule to have an event at Fifth Third Bank Stadium is on Mar. 28 when they have their inaugural spring game. After that, it will be the start of the 2015 season and the Owls first home game will be on Sep. 12 against Edward Waters College.

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