Aggies ride backfield ‘stable’ to win over PHS

Aggies ride backfield ‘stable’ to win over PHS

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Aggies ride backfield ‘stable’ to win over PHS

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Tate High School quarterback Jake Henry, (No. 16) fakes the handoff with running back Shermari Jones, (No. 23) during Friday night's preseason opener against Pensacola High School.

Tate High School quarterback Jake Henry, (No. 16) fakes the handoff with running back Shermari Jones, (No. 23) during Friday night’s preseason opener against Pensacola High School.

Tate High School safety, Reid Halfacre, (No. 15) wraps up Pensacola High School wide receiver, Freddie Hughley, (No. 13) during Friday night's preseason opener.

Tate High School safety, Reid Halfacre, (No. 15) wraps up Pensacola High School wide receiver, Freddie Hughley, (No. 13) during Friday night’s preseason opener.

Pensacola High School linebacker Isaiah Brown, (No. 26) trips up Tate High School quarterback Jake Henry, (No. 16) during Friday night's preseason opener.

Pensacola High School linebacker Isaiah Brown, (No. 26) trips up Tate High School quarterback Jake Henry, (No. 16) during Friday night’s preseason opener.

Tate High School's Tim Pryear, (No. 24) turns and runs up field for extra yards against the Pensacola High School defense Friday night.

Tate High School’s Tim Pryear, (No. 24) turns and runs up field for extra yards against the Pensacola High School defense Friday night.

Pensacola High School's Boston Robinson, fight for mishandles a kickoff during Friday night's preseason opener against Tate High School Friday night.

Pensacola High School’s Boston Robinson, fight for mishandles a kickoff during Friday night’s preseason opener against Tate High School Friday night.

Tate High School Running Back Ladarryl Paige, (No. 4) runs through the Pensacola High School Defense during Friday night's preseason opener at PHS.

Tate High School Running Back Ladarryl Paige, (No. 4) runs through the Pensacola High School Defense during Friday night’s preseason opener at PHS.

Pensacola High School quarterback Ashton Stephens, (No. 3) looks for an open receiver on the sideline during Friday night's preseason game against Tate.

Pensacola High School quarterback Ashton Stephens, (No. 3) looks for an open receiver on the sideline during Friday night’s preseason game against Tate.

Pensacola High School's Boston Robinson, fight for mishandles a kickoff during Friday night's preseason opener against Tate High School Friday night.

Pensacola High School’s Boston Robinson, fight for mishandles a kickoff during Friday night’s preseason opener against Tate High School Friday night.

Pensacola High School linebacker Isaiah Brown, (No. 26) trips up Tate High School quarterback Jake Henry, (No. 16) during Friday night's preseason opener.

Pensacola High School linebacker Isaiah Brown, (No. 26) trips up Tate High School quarterback Jake Henry, (No. 16) during Friday night’s preseason opener.

Tate High School's Tim Pryear, (No. 24) turns and runs up field for extra yards against the Pensacola High School defense Friday night.

Tate High School’s Tim Pryear, (No. 24) turns and runs up field for extra yards against the Pensacola High School defense Friday night.

Tate High School Running Back Ladarryl Paige, (No. 4) runs through the Pensacola High School Defense during Friday night's preseason opener at PHS.

Tate High School Running Back Ladarryl Paige, (No. 4) runs through the Pensacola High School Defense during Friday night’s preseason opener at PHS.

Tate High School running back Corey Moorer, (No. 20), breaks through the Pensacola High defensive line with help from teammates Trae Melton, IIII, (No. 75) and Raymond Freeman, (No. 14) during Friday night's preseason opener.

Tate High School running back Corey Moorer, (No. 20), breaks through the Pensacola High defensive line with help from teammates Trae Melton, IIII, (No. 75) and Raymond Freeman, (No. 14) during Friday night’s preseason opener.

Tate High School quarterback Jake Henry, (No. 16) fakes the handoff with running back Shermari Jones, (No. 23) during Friday night's preseason opener against Pensacola High School.

Tate High School quarterback Jake Henry, (No. 16) fakes the handoff with running back Shermari Jones, (No. 23) during Friday night’s preseason opener against Pensacola High School.

Tate High School running back, Corey Moorer, (No.20) gets wrapped up with a Pensacola High School defender during Friday night's preseason game at PHS.

Tate High School running back, Corey Moorer, (No.20) gets wrapped up with a Pensacola High School defender during Friday night’s preseason game at PHS.

Tate didn’t ask first-year quarterback Jake Henry to do much in his first competitive high school snaps.

Instead the Aggies let the senior feed the horses in his backfield on the way to a 17-6 win over Pensacola High on Friday night in the preseason Kickoff Classic.

“Our running backs, we’ve got a stable of them right now where we can sub them in and out and keep them fresh,” Tate head coach Jay Lindsey said. “There’s not much of a difference between those guys.”

Senior running back Tomarcus Moorer and junior Ladarryl Paige scored the Aggies’ two varsity touchdowns on runs of 16 and 30 yards respectively.

When Henry wasn’t running the read option with Moorer and Paige, he was letting junior Shamari Jones and sophomore Tim Pryear rack up yards behind the Aggies’ hulking offensive line.

It took a moment for Henry to settle in on the big stage. The senior quarterback fumbled on his first carry, though a fellow Aggie was able to recover.

“He was amped up,” Lindsey said. “He had two overthrows that I thought were touchdowns and he overthrew them. But that’s just a part of it. He’s amped and he’s a competitor.”

Once settled, Henry took full advantage of Pensacola’s focus on the Aggies’ running backs, tucking it and running for several long gains and converting a late third-down pass that ended any threat of a Pensacola comeback.

The ground game figures to once again be the focal point of the Tate offense. As Lindsey said after the game, “that’s what we do.”

“We showed, I think, that we’re in pretty good shape, at least early on,” Lindsey said. “The good thing is that we still have a lot to work on. We made a lot of mistakes even though we were pretty much in control of the game.”

Tate Aggies embrace challenge following historic run

Friday’s game was a learning moment for head coach Mike Mincy’s Pensacola Tigers.

Quarterback competitors Ashton Stephens and Dannie Davis both led two drives for the Tigers with mixed results.

Stephens was able to connect on several passes and used his larger frame to improvise on some physical runs.

Davis, meanwhile, made fewer plays on his own, but led the Tigers to their lone touchdown, a 12-yard run by Tyrese Albritton, on his first drive of the game.

Tate High School safety, Reid Halfacre, (No. 15) wraps up Pensacola High School wide receiver, Freddie Hughley, (No. 13) during Friday night's preseason opener.

Tate High School safety, Reid Halfacre, (No. 15) wraps up Pensacola High School wide receiver, Freddie Hughley, (No. 13) during Friday night’s preseason opener.

“I thought both of them did some good things and some of them had problems in other areas,” Mincy said. “I thought they both held their composure for the most part, but we just didn’t finish our drives.”

Mincy said neither contender won the quarterback competition based on their performance on Friday and that the competition would continue into their opener against Pine Forest.

Pensacola High looking to get over the hump

Even though the highly-touted Eagles fell 13-0 to West Florida in their preseason opener, Mincy said that won’t make their Week 1 matchup any easier.

“Them losing doesn’t mean a whole lot,” Mincy said. “They’re playing a lot of kids and looking at a lot things… Obviously Pine Forest is loaded with talent this year. It’s deep. So you’ve got to go in and control the things you can control and execute. If we execute, we’ll see where we’re at at the end of the fourth quarter.”

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