By TONY EIERDAM
If first impressions can predict the future, the Mineral Wells football team and their fans can look forward to a season of promise as the Rams held their ground with a solid Decatur squad as both teams scored three times Friday night in a scrimmage at Ram Stadium.
The Rams will play a final scrimmage at Azle on Friday. Start times for the freshman, junior varsity and varsity scrimmage have yet to be announced.
MWHS will open the 2013 season at home against state-ranked No. 9 Graham on Aug. 30.
“It is hard to evaluate totally without looking at the film,” head coach Chuck Lawrence said immediately following them practice game, “but I do know our kids played hard.
“We may have made some mistakes, but we also made some good plays.
“But that is what a scrimmage is for. We will correct the mistakes, we will praise the good things and we will come back and go to work.
“We went toe-to-toe with a good, well-coached football team. We were right there with them step for step.
“We played with heart and played hard, and that’s all we can ask them to do at this point.”
In defense of the Rams’ defense, it had the undesirable challenge of trying to stop Decatur quarterback Grayson Muehlstein, District 9-3A’s top passer and an early commit to TCU.
Paced by the passing of Muehlstein, the Eagles scored twice in the “controlled” portion of the scrimmage.
The Rams had a big-play in the controlled part of the practice game as quarterback Caleb Acosta fired a 75-yard touchdown pass to Colby Kissinger, who raced past his single defender and cradled a perfect spiral from his signal caller.
The scrimmage ended with a timed 12-minute quarter to simulate game conditions.
Using a mixture of passes and running plays, Muehlstein methodically drove the Eagles to the Rams’ 29. However, the Eagles would only move backwards as the Rams came up with a sack on first down.
On the next play, MWHS defensive back Omery Trevino picked off a pass at the Rams’ 2 and sprinted down the right sideline. He would have easily scored but the rules of the scrimmage halted play after interceptions so instead MWHS took over at its own 30.
In two plays the Rams fumbled the ball to the Eagles. But Decatur was forced to punt to set up the Rams’ score in the timed portion of the scrimmage.
On third and nine from the MWHS 21, Acosta dropped back to pass, but could not locate any open receivers.
The crafty junior bought some time on a scramble to his right, and before being sacked threw the ball about 10 yards downfield in the middle of the field.
On a play that resembled Pittsburgh Steelers running back Franco Harris’s Immaculate Reception, the ball bounced off a Decatur defender and into the alert arms of Rams junior receiver Rascellis Williams, who accelerated past three surprised Decatur defenders and down the left sideline for a remarkable 79-yard touchdown.
“I was just hanging back blocking for my quarterback,” Williams said. “When he threw the ball I headed up field, and all of a sudden the ball came to me. I just ran as fast as I could.”
The Rams missed the extra point and led 6-0 with 6:42 left in the practice game.
MWHS held Decatur on downs after the Eagles drove to the MWHS 22. Muehlstein had thrown consecutive incomplete passes on third and fourth downs to turn the ball over on downs to the Rams.
The Eagles forced a Rams’ punt and found the end zone when Muehlstein completed a 24-yard touchdown pass. Decatur converted the extra point to take a 7-6 lead and held the Rams on downs as the scrimmage ended.
Lawrence feels the Eagles gave his defense a good look at an efficient passing game.
“On a personal note, my cornerbacks didn’t play all that great, but that’s on me,” he said. “But other than that, we just have to correct some mistakes and keep getting better.”