HARROGATE, Tenn. — The Pineville Mountain Lions held their first scrimmage on Tuesday at Cumberland Gap and had quite a bit of success in their new Pistol formation.
“We love the ‘I’ because of the type of kids we have at Pineville but we were very deficient at throwing out of the ‘I’ and doing straight dropbacks. So we went to what I call the ‘Maryland I,’ people call it different things but it’s a Pistol set,” Lion coach Bart Elam said. “It just gets our quarterback away from the line and gives us a couple of extra minutes and we can still run everything that we run out of the ‘I’. We’re staying in it just to get better at it but we’re not going to live and die with it.”
After giving up some big runs and a long pass to the Panthers in the first series of plays, Pineville showed how versatile their offense can be when they got the ball.
Robbie Miller broke a 15-yard run and then hauled in a 20-yard pass from Tucker Woolum. Backs Brad Fuson and Jordan Wombles each had 11-yard runs, Woolum connected with Wombles for 15 yards and even got free for a 23-yard gain on an option keeper.
“Offensively I thought we were pretty smooth all night, other than one throw that Tucker would like to have back on a post route. I didn’t feel like they could stop us, honestly, and I was surprised by that. I thought we would have a lot more kinks to iron out. I think we’ve got a good group of kids that are doing better as far as learning our offense. It’s going to take time but I’m proud of what we accomplished. The bottom line is that it was a good practice for both teams.”
In a ten-play session of red-zone work, Wombles and Woolum each had 10-yard touchdown conversions.
The Mountain Lion defense rose to the occasion with a pair of stops during the live scrimmage session. Will Adams had an interception to end Cumberland Gap’s first drive and a sack by Tyler Givens helped lead to a turnover on downs after another promising Panther drive.
In between Adams capped an impressive Lion march with a 10-yard touchdown run of his own on an end around. The TD was set up by Woolum passes of 20 yards to Adams and 26 yards to Miller.
“It was our first work against somebody else and we started out kid of slow. I told our kid they looked like they were still working against hand shields,” Elam said. “We let them drive, drive, drive but then we came up with a big pick at the end and that’s what football’s about. You can bend on defense but you’ve got to keep making plays. Sometimes that’s you best chance to keep them out of the end zone and that’s what happened.”
Woolum completed nine of 13 passes for roughly 125 yards during the scrimmage. Miller ran for 39 yards on six carries, Fuson 28 yards on six and Wombles added 28 yards on four carries with the varsity. Miller was also the leading receiver for Pineville with three catches for 55 yards. Adams had two catches for 25 yards and Nike Mason two for 18. Joe Simpson also had a 12-yard reception.
Pineville will play at Knox Central on Friday in the SEKC Gridorama. The day starts with Harlan scrimmaging Williamsburg at 6 p.m.