Miners dig way past Cardinals

BAUXITE — Harmony Grove and Bauxite engaged in the 2014 preseason’s final tuneup Tuesday in The Pit. With both teams vying for a good start to the season, Tuesday’s scrimmage was full of ups and also had a few downs in the mix. But Bauxite prevailed in the end, 10-7.

“Scrimmage games are to work on your stuff,” said Mike Guthrie, Bauxite’s interim head coach. “The focus coming in was to be a little more intense. We still need to work on ball security with two fumbles tonight and almost a pick at the end that would have cost us big. We have really got to focus on ball security this coming week.”

The first half of play was strictly for repetitions for both sides. Each starting offense took 10 snaps against its opponent’s No. 1 defense in the first quarter. The second was 10 snaps for each second team on each side.

Sophomore running back Nathan Watkins scored the first half’s only touchdown, going 45 yards for the TD for the Cardinals in the second quarter.

The Miners lost two fumbles in the first half and couldn’t find the end zone despite some big plays through the air.

Bauxite sophomore quarterback Hunter Geautreaux hit Ben Madison for 43 yards on three completions in the first quarter. Geautreaux ended the game with 102 yards and a touchdown, completing 5 of 10 passes.

“You have to realize that this guy was playing junior high last year,” Guthrie said. “That is a lot of stuff thrown at a young sophomore. Overall, he handled it well. Yeah, there are still some things that we need to do better but I was pleased with his effort.”

The second half was two 12-minute halves of game play. After scoring in the first half, Harmony Grove couldn’t get much going early in the second, punting on its first possession before fumbling on its second try.

Bauxite, however scored on both of its first two possessions. Sophomore kicker Dustin Whitfield smashed a 32-yard field goal with 4:08 left in the third quarter. Running back Blaze Vinyard rushed for 36 yards on two carries to help set up the kick.

The Miners’ second chance on offense was much smoother and quicker as the team went 70 yards on five plays, capped by a 28-yard TD pass from Geautreaux to Madison to give Bauxite the 10-0 advantage with 14 seconds left to tick in the third.

The Cardinals put something together on their third possession, scoring on a short run from Jon Johnson from 3 yards out to cut the lead to 10-7 with 7:05 left in the game. Quarterback Dakota Rains put together a lengthly run and a 16-yard pass to help set up the score.

Down just three with plenty of time left, Harmony Grove squandered a chance to take the lead, fumbling the pigskin on its next try before ending the contest on an interception. Hayden Taylor collected the pass on a dive for Bauxite to seal the scrimmage win.

Aside from Geautreaux’s big night, Vinyard also put up nice numbers, rushing for 65 yards on nine carries. Madison collected four passes for 70 yards and a score.

“The first three weeks of practice we have just been trying to play with intensity,” Guthrie said. “Now we have to start trying to find the X’s and O’s and it starts with ball security.”

Watkins’ 63 yards in a backup role for the Cardinals was the highlight of the night. Rains was 3 for 5 for 53 yards.

“This was just a shadow of how both teams can play,” said Red Parker, Harmony Grove head coach. “I think they can play way better and we can, too. I think it was good for us and I am glad we played it and nobody got hurt.”

Parker said that he will have to wait until he looks at film before he knows his team’s biggest weakness at this point, but did say that his team didn’t align themselves correctly.

“That is because we had a bunch of 10th graders playing,” Parker said. “Getting people in the right place is the biggest thing.”

Both teams will start the season next Friday. Bauxite is at home against Pulaski Robinson at 7 p.m. Harmony Grove takes on Poyen at home also at 7 p.m.