Defending champs reload

By Ryan Lengerich

If the game’s third play at Friday nights annual Purple and Gold Scrimmage is an indication of what to expect from Rattlers this season — back to back championships could be a possibility.

Junior quarterback Chris McCasland took a draw play 60 yards for the first touchdown of the scrimmage before a crowd of about 200 at Rattler Stadium.

The exhibition was the first live action for the team and comes just two weeks before the season opener against Menaul at home.

Head coach Dub Smith said he was pleased with his team’s effort and performance.

“I saw a lot of good things happen,” he said. “We had it divided pretty equal but then when we put them all together as a team I feel like we are going to have a good football team.”

McCasland makes the move to quarterback this year after a earning first team district honors as a wide receiver. He said he is getting comfortable in his role but needs a full game as quarterback before deciding which position he likes best. He said he was encouraged with the offensive performance in the scrimmage.

“We are going to be pretty tough, I thought we looked pretty good, especially moving the ball,” he said. “We got some big play makers, we can break anything at anytime.”

The Rattlers received a surprise performance from sophomore Josh Benavidez. The gold team’s young quarterback dashed for a long gain early in the scrimmage on an option play that led to a short touchdown run.

Benavidez also provided the game’s hardest hit late in the contest when he lifted the purple team’s running back in the air driving him to the grass.

“I think I was kind of nervous at first but after we got started I felt a lot better,” he said. “I feel really good, and we are going to be a good football team.”

The Rattlers will take on St. Mikes in a scrimmage Friday at a time and place to be announced.

Smith said next weeks scrimmage will be an important test as they prepare for opening week.

“I think Chris is going to develop into a real fine quarterback,” he said. “I think the whole key is going to be if we can develop some depth in the backfield and the line.”