West Point QB Rylan Jones drops back to pass in a 7-on-7 drill. / Johnny Thornton
ADDISON – Two teams well known for running the football got together Monday to work on adding a passing attack to create more balance on the offensive side for 2017.
West Point and Addison met at A.G. Hicks Stadium while dark clouds and lightning kept their distance. The Warriors and Bulldogs went through a series of drills before they concluded with a 7-on-7 match that ended in an 18-15 Addison comeback victory.
"We're going to be more comfortable throwing the ball this year than last year," Addison coach David Smothers said. "We are still going to run it, but we are going to throw it more."
West Point is seeking balance in throwing the ball to offset a new running attack after Cameron Moore and Alex Hernandez graduated, taking 2,400 yards with them.
Smothers reported the Bulldogs need to be more aggressive in the secondary, while West Point coach Don Farley said the Warriors will cater to the strengths of three different quarterbacks.
Warrior QB Rylan Jones started the drills, with Kolton Easterwood getting his time behind center. Freshman Will Cochran saw some time Monday throwing the ball. Each had his moments in the two-hour session with last year's 1A state semifinalist.
From the 7-on-7 segment, West Point scored on its second possession when Jones found Hunter Appling open in the end zone. A conversion pass to Appling made it 7-0.
Addison answered with a 40-yard throw down the right sidelines from Bryant Ridgeway to Logan Wilkins. But the Bulldogs missed the conversion throw and trailed 7-6.
After stopping West Point on downs, Addison's third series needed two plays to cover the distance of 40 yards. Zayne Guthrie hooked up with Gage Gilliland for 33 yards and the go-ahead touchdown. Again, the conversion pass failed with the Bulldogs now in front, 12-7.
On the Warriors' fourth possession, Jones and Noah Allison got together for a 40-yard strike on the first play. Allison caught a 2-point pass from Jones with the Warriors taking back the lead at 15-12.
Down to the final series, Addison completed four of six throws to pull it out. Gilliland worked the drive, ending it with an 18-yard TD down the middle to Jake Blackburn. The Bulldogs once again were not able to score on the conversion.
Time ran out with the Bulldogs winning 18-15.
Smothers is looking to get the Bulldogs into another 7-on-7 before the month ends. Farley will take his Warriors to his hometown of Oakman on Thursday.
Addison kicks off the 2017 season at Elkmont Aug. 25, while West Point plays for the first time ever at Hamilton the same night.
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