NEWBERRY, S.C. - Saturday's scrimmage at Setzler Field wasn't quite as good as a game at Webber International, but the nearly 450 fans that came to the session went away pleased by the preview of the 2004 Newberry College Indians. The Scarlet and Gray elicited quite a bit of applause and cheers from the onlookers, mostly from the two touchdown drives mounted by the first team offense.
Quarterback Josh Stepp completed ten of 11 passes for 117 yards and a touchdown in two drives with the first team offense. The first drive covered 80 yards in 11 plays, and saw a half-and-half mix of run/pass. Gerard Jackson ran three times for 18 yards and collected two first downs in the series. The big play of the drive was Stepp's 24-yard swing pass to Antwan Surratt. Surratt found daylight down the right sideline to put the Tribe in the red zone. Junior LaBarge capped the drive, catching Stepp's 12-yard TD toss.
Stepp was sacked (stopped by contact) three times on the day, but had no turnovers and appeared ready for live action.
Tymere Zimmerman, Newberry's All-SAC receiver, caught three Stepp passes for 15 yards a pop and was the high-yardage receiver on the day. Surratt's 40 yards on three catches came in second, and Charles Brandon and LaBarge snared two passes apiece for 12 and 20 yards, respectively.
Jackson was solid for the first-team offense, rushing for 24 yards on four carries with one six-yard touchdown. Alex Haynes, a true freshman from Summerville, mounted 37 yards on five carries with the second-team offense against the second/third-team defense. Deshon Rodell picked up 35 yards in four attempts against the scout defense, and looked spectacular during a 15-yard misdirection play.
The starting defense held the reserve offense to minimal yardage. Emil Gibson unofficially had three tackles, all for loss. All-SAC nominees Tony Ransom and Terrance Leverett made the first two plays of the day, shutting the door on the third-team offense. Adam Scott, Quinton McClain, and Charlie Miller executed tackles at or behind the line of scrimmage for the first-team defense.
The questions about Newberry's kicking game seem to be answered, as Stephen Stellfox, a USC transfer, kicked an extra point over the restraining net and finished the scrimmage with a 47-yard field goal that had seven yards to spare. Brian Sanchez made good on a 32-yard try and a point after touchdown.
One unlikely hero stepped up near the end of the scrimmage. Devon Robinson, a freshman from Beaufort High School, anticipated a pass to the flat and stepped in front for the pickoff. Both head coach Zak Willis and defensive coordinator Todd Knight praised the newcomer. "Plays like that ... That's how you go from the scout team to the travel team," Willis said of Robinson's effort.
The Indians continue to prepare for Concord College in next Saturday's opener. SAC member Tusculum College handed Concord its first loss, 46-18, today in Athens, W.Va.