By Tony Adams, Sports Editor
The Belton Tigers 2015 football team took to Crusader Stadium to conclude Tigers Spring Training with the return of the Red-and-White Game.
The game was not played last year, as the Belton coaches took the time to implement their new schemes and opted to wait until this year to return the game.
Lots of action took place on the field, as quarterbacks Peyton Mansell and John Taggart, running backs Davion Peoples, Olajuwon Taylor and David Sheppard and receivers Anthony Mirabel, Deandra Marshall and Matt Mahler displayed their skills against a good Tigers’ defense.
Injuries and illnesses kept several varsity starting players out of action, including defensive tackle Braden Martinez, tight end Remington Lutz, running back Joe Warehime and safety Garrison Vaughn.
The drives were broke into 12-play sets featured different field positions for evaluation of the players.
Mansell started the game with an 18-yard designed run for a first down, getting a good, upfront hole provided by Zach Shackleford and Javon Chambers. Six plays later, Peoples broke away from the line for a 56-yard touchdown.
“I thought DaeDae played well,” Belton head coach Bob Shipley said. “I’d like to see him run a little tougher on short yardage. If you give the guy any daylight, he’ll make you miss and take it to the house. I thought he had a good scrimmage and did a lot of things well.”
“I felt pretty good about the way I ran most of the time,” Peoples said of his performance. “I could have been better with finding the holes in the line and making the cuts. I need to work on my speed too.”
Peoples broke off runs of 37 and 46, totaling 157 yards for the game.
Mansell finished the ballgame 8-for-18 for 71 yards, one touchdown, 74 yards rushing and two rushing scores.
Sheppard provided the Tigers a change-of-pace back, as Peoples and Taylor speed merchants with sleek cutback abilities. With Sheppard (and with Warehime), you get a straight-ahead, no-nonsense, bulldozing running style.
“I thought David did really well too,” Shipley said. “We have Olajuwon, DaeDae, David back there. Warehime has been our starting fullback and he’s been sick. We feel good about our running backs.”
Taggart took the next drive over and had a good connection with Matt Mahler for a 17-yard gain. Taggart threw for a pair of touchdowns and pair of interceptions for the game, going 8-for-14 passing, totaling 69 yards, ran for 55 yards and a touchdown scamper.
“It took the quarterbacks a bit to get settled in,” Shipley said. “They were both a bit nervous at first. But they got settled in and are still young with no varsity experience. So it will take a little while for them to get into their groove.”
Taylor had three solid catches for 39 yards and two touchdowns. Marshall also caught a touchdown for the Red team.
“I think when fall comes, we will be better prepared,” Mirabel said. “We can be a great deal better than we were today.”
“Although we had some mistakes. We will get better.” Marshall said.
The defense played very well, as Noah Duran picked up a pair of fumbles, Carlton Shanks III had a pair of interceptions and Josh Brown picked off a pass. Players like John Harvey, Cody Garrett, D.J. Fisher and Brandon Gangloff were creating havoc on the inside, allowing Kofi McDonald, Chris Jones and C.J. Jones open avenues towards the offensive specialists.
“I thought we were pretty good up front,” Shipley said. “We’re missing one of our mainstays up there. But all in all, they played well. As the scrimmage went on, we played tired and made some mistakes defensively because we played soft. That’s really kind of the design of our offense: to wear the defense down. Overall, I thought our defense played well.”
“I think we all played very well,” Shanks said. “The defense looked very strong.”