WHEATFIELD | In the best atmosphere a controlled scrimmage could offer, Kankakee Valley might have answered some questions against visiting Boone Grove.
Last year, the Kougars relied heavily on Tyler Birky to carry the bulk of the rushing load. On Friday night at Fred Jones Field, they spread it around, using seven ball carriers to amass 212 yards rushing in roughly 37 plays.
“We’d like to spread it out among all our ball carriers,” said coach Brad Stewart, who said the graduated Birky had the hot hand last season. “We’re pretty deep in the running back position, so we feel like we can share the ball a little bit.”
Sophomore quarterback Darrick Webster rushed for 42 yards, including a 27-yard TD jaunt. Webster took the majority of the snaps, while Tim Schoonveld added six rushes for 32 yards from behind center. He scored three touchdowns on the short-yardage portion of the scrimmage.
“(Webster) is smooth,” Stewart said. “I always tell him he slithers rather than runs because nobody seems to be able to get a hold of him. He does a great job of running the offense.”
Al Berdine finished with 46 yards rushing on seven carries.
“Our line stepped it up big time,” Berdine said. “Our running backs did great, cutting back. We had some younger guys who haven’t been out there a lot for varsity, and everybody is stepping up and doing good.”
Meanwhile, Boone used just a handful of different running plays among four backs, but it did try to air it out. Junior quarterback Aaron Ellis completed 4-of-17 passes for 50 yards and a score.
“We’ve got to work on our timing and work on staying on our blocks better than we did tonight,” Boone coach Tony Tinkel said.
Evan Stewart rushed for 29 yards, while Austin Kukulski caught a 28-yard pass. Matt Wiggins added a 7-yard TD reception.
“We really need to run the ball,” Tinkel said. “At times, we did run it well, and then we’d have a penalty. .. We’ve got to eliminate the mistakes, keep it on the ground and grind it out.”
Stewart was somewhat pleased with how his defense played, allowing just 82 yard of offense during the varsity portion of the scrimmage.
“I’m never happy,” he said. “We’ve got some things we can get better at. When we do, then I’ll be happy, which won’t happen.”