The 2019 football season is inching closer and closer to the regular season, and Tuesday was the first game-like action for the Rummel Raiders.
The crew from Severn Avenue traveled to Hoss Memtsas Stadium on the Westbank to take on Helen Cox, and all went according to plan for one of the Catholic League’s top teams.
The scrimmage was split into two portions with the first consisting of 12 plays by the offense and six by the defense. Both groups had about 3-4 series to work with before the first-teamers took the field again for two 12-minute running quarters.
The defense was up first and they had a strong outing picking off two passes along with a couple of sacks and several tackles for loss while surrendering just one touchdown on the final drive of the game. Malik Woodery had the first interception while Sean Grimes had the other.
The offense was nearly as effective finding the end zone twice, the first of which was a 15-yard catch by senior Amour Rachal from junior Kyle Wickersham, his first touchdown throw as a Raider and varsity player.
“That was an awesome moment,” said Wickersham, who transferred to Rummel from Jesuit last school year. “I’ve been dreaming about finally playing varsity football and it was great to have the opportunity to do that today, especially throwing a touchdown. Hopefully there will be many more but it was great to get that one underneath my belt.”
Wickersham’s touchdown came during the 12-play series portion of the scrimmage, and the Raiders’ second score occurred during the first 12-minute quarter.
Junior fullback Logan Bertucci took a handoff up the middle from 21 yards out, barreled through a defender near the 15-yard line, and carried another Cougar the final three yards into the end zone.
Bertucci and senior Jaelen Sturgis carried the load on the ground for Rummel throughout the game with junior Logan Diggs sidelined with a minor injury. The Raiders also lost LSU commitment Koy Moore for the final couple of series with a lower leg injury, but the 4-star prospect appeared to be just fine following the game.
He was featured heavily early on for the Raiders making three catches on the first series, and went on to snag three more receptions before his early exit.
“No. 1, we came out relatively healthy and that’s probably the most important thing,” Rummel coach Nick Monica said. “I thought at times we showed some glimpses of what we need to be, but we also have a lot of work to do still.”
Helen Cox did find some success on both sides of the ball with UTSA linebacker commitment Kelin Burrle making a handful of tackles while junior defensive lineman Glenn Davidson made several plays in the Rummel backfield. The Cougar defense also came up with a couple of big plays picking off Wickersham twice — the first by senior defensive back Ken’Darrius Moore and the second by junior linebacker Damien Beard.
Offensively, Helen Cox had trouble moving the ball for much of the game, but did come up with a key play on the final drive when sophomore quarterback Ray Ruffin hit junior Khari Fields on a slant about 10 yards downfield. Fields then shook off a tackle after making the catch and outran the rest of the Rummel defense for a 52-yard touchdown.
“At the end we found our rhythm and niche a little bit,” Helen Cox coach David Davis Sr. said. “And it’s no excuse but we’ve only been in pads for two days so we expected to struggle a little bit. We’ve got a lot of work to do but I’m impressed with our defense and they played well throughout the whole scrimmage.”
The Cougars’ defensive unit played well even without the services of Virginia safety commitment Donovan Johnson, who hopes to return from an injury later in the season.
Aside from Johnson’s preexisting injury, though, the Cougars also came out healthy on their side. Both teams will now go back to regroup before getting ready for their jamborees next week.
“We’ll get back to watch the film tomorrow, practice the rest of the week and try to fix (our mistakes),” Monica said.
“It felt good (to play someone else,” said Nicholls commitment and Rummel defensive back Corey Smooth, who nearly had a third interception for Rummel on a nice pass breakup.
“It showed us a lot of things we have to work on, though, and we learned a lot today.”