Rebels show progress in Camden scrimmage

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FACING LIONS – The McKenzie High School Rebels line up against the Camden Lions during scrimmage action on Friday.

Jim Steele, sports writer

Last year, McKenzie was pretty much manhandled by Camden in a pre-season scrimmage 6-1.

Friday, the Rebels hosted the Lions and showed some progress. MHS tied their guests 3-3 in pre-season action. Rebel coach Wade Comer said there was a lot of good that came from the scrimmage, but it was a mixed bag. There were a few hiccups that need repair.

“We’re ahead of where we were at this point last year, and I was pleased with how we played physical,” he said. “We gave up some long passes on defense, but we can fix those problems. All in all, I was pleased.”

Camden returned many offensive linemen from last year’s team, but Comer was pleased with how his guys in the trench responded. 

“I thought we got after them pretty good,” he said. “We played them a lot more physical, and we challenged them before the scrimmage to be physical.”

After sustaining a season-ending hip injury during a pre-season scrimmage last year, Evan Jarrett returned and looked pretty good.

“Evan threw the ball well and did some good things,” said the coach. “The protection held up well, and I don’t think he was ever sacked.”

Micah Austin and Marquez Taylor ran the ball well for the Rebels. Austin scored a touchdown, and Taylor dashed for two scores.

“I was real pleased with how we ran the ball, and I thought our offensive line moved them around pretty good,” said Comer. “We started off a little slow, but once we got rid of the big eyes, we got better as we went along.”

Comer said that some kids distinguished themselves and perhaps started to show some separation in competition for playing time, but he cautioned that it was still early in the process.

“I thought Jaden Johnson played well at linebacker, and Kaden Allen did a good job in the secondary when he got out there,” said the coach. “We had some things shake out, but it’s still early and we’re still a work in progress.”

The coach said that the defensive line played well, but the secondary needs to show more discipline. Comer did say that the problems in the secondary are all fixable. He also said that he saw good things from a lot of young kids who stepped into a high school scrimmage for the first time.

Now the Rebels will prepare for a trip to Lexington next week and a scrimmage with the Tigers at 5:30 p.m. McKenzie will host Westview in a jamboree scrimmage at the high school field on Friday, Aug. 16.

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