The Tarleton football team wrapped up their fall camp with a Purple and White Scrimmage at Tarleton Memorial Stadium in front of 1,500 fans looking to see where the team is two weeks prior to the season.
Tarleton opens at home against defending Lone Star Conference champ and fourth-ranked Midwestern State at 7 p.m. Sept. 8.
The Texans seperated into two teams with the "Purple" squad being the offense and the "White" squad being the defense. The two sides went head-to-head for a pair of 15 minute quarters.
On the first drive of the scrimmage, junior quarterback Aaron Doyle hit sophomore wideout Clifton Rhodes III for a 30-yard gain up the middle. The defense quickly settled in though and held the offense scoreless on the first possession.
The second drive was short but effective as senior quarterback Jake Fenske hooked up with freshman receiver Andre Plata for a 60-yard touchdown that got the crowd excited and on their feet.
That set up an opportunity for the kickers to showcase their talents as well. Freshman Blake Barnes and sophomore Isaac Arellano both converted their extra points before head coach Cary Fowler moved them back. The duo again connected from 45 yards out before Arellano capped things off with a 50-yard field goal that easily cleared the uprights.
From there, Doyle and Rhodes kept their connection going with a series of short passes for Rhodes to get out into space. That was all the offense could get going as the defense eliminated any ground game early on.
The next few series were controlled by the defense, which used a combination of different players to keep the offense off balance. The first quarter ended with another stand by the Texan defense.
As the second quarter got underway, Tarleton's running game picked up, thanks to sophomore back Jerome Regal. It would eventually be redshirt-freshman quarterback Collin Strahan though that would punch it in from a few yards out.
Then came freshman quarterback Matt Bishop's turn to control the reigns of the offense. He led his team down the field for a score, including a 50-yard completion to Le'Nard Meyers that set up a Vaughn Smith rushing touchdown. Smith went on to add another touchdown on the next drive, this time from 30-yards out.
"We did some good things and the defense got some quality reps," said Fowler. "It's been a long camp. There were a couple good series, defense got to the quarterback, offense had some big gashes. That's where the air-raid comes in. Every quarterback got in tonight and moved the ball down the field. It was fun to watch. We wore down a little bit, but we had them going a lot more reps and that's what you want to see.
"There was success on offense and on defense," Fowler added. "We caught the ball well, too. I'd have to look at the film but I don't think we had one drop all night."
Fowler also talked about the progress the team has made in its second year of the Air-Raid.
"We are two springs and two fall camps into it now," said the third-year coach. "We still have two weeks before the first game. They say the third year is the magic year. The quarterbacks are so comfortable and they get rid of the football. They know where the reads are. The point is to make the defense be in the wrong place no matter what they are in. We have 4,000 yards of receiving back and there are five backs we really like. The quarterbacks just need to get the ball in their hands."