Antlers scrimmage McNeil, open season Friday

Tivy's Fisher Middleton alludes a McNeil defender Friday night against Round Rock McNeil in their final preseason scrimmage. The Antlers open friday against Dripping Springs.

JOHNSON CITY – After sorting through three different scrimmage opponents, TFND finally made its debut Thursday when the Antlers scrimmaged against Round Rock McNeil on the turf of Class 2A Johnson City’s field.

Tivy made the most of its one and only scrimmage, limiting the Class 6A Mavericks to one score, and that happened only because an aggressive group of Antler defenders were flying to the ball so hard that a pass deflection fell into the hands of a Mavericks’ receiver. Meanwhile, Tivy’s offense clicked to the tune of several scores, handing the Antlers the final edge.

Tivy was originally slated to scrimmage San Antonio South San, then Austin LBJ, and settled with McNeil when the Bobcats and Jaguars were stymied due to their respective community and school district coronavirus protocols.

“We got better,” Tivy coach David Jones following the scrimmage. “It was a good scrimmage for us. Both sides of the ball showed good intensity and we had some good camaraderie.”

Offensively, Tivy played a trio of athletes at quarterbacks with Coleson Abel, Layne Zales and Jake Layton all seeing significant action under center.

“We were really happy with our quarterback play,” Jones said. “Coleson competed extremely hard, Jake did well, and Layne threw a touchdown pass to Jackson Johnston. Cooper Duennenberg ran the ball well.”

Defensive experience is solid for Tivy with six returners, and while Jones and defensive coordinator Jeremy Hickman did not immediately break down film, Jones did indicate he liked what he saw on the field.

“I felt like our defense was quicker than I anticipated it would be for the scrimmage. We ran to the ball faster and the effort was good. Our first three games are against some really good football teams, so this was scrimmage was very important for us.”

Safety Dalton Counts was on patrol in the secondary and was cited by Jones for some positive play, and returning All-District senior Jack Patterson picked off a McNeil pass.

Tivy travels to Dripping Springs for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff Friday in 2020 season-opening play, then has another road trip to face Corpus Christi Calallen the following week before lining up at home Oct. 9 against Killeen Shoemaker.

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