A mixture of old and new faces came together for a battle between blue and gold today, with the Blue squad coming out on top, 35-33.
On a windy afternoon, fans received their first taste of what football after Geno, Tavon, and Stedman will consist of. While the three playmakers weren't on the field for the first time in four years, a new group of athletes started to make their own name for themselves.
Paul Millard and Ford Childress kicked off a quarterback competition in front of several thousand people. Millard was given the nod to start the game, hinting that he could possibly be the guy when the Mountaineers open the season against William and Mary in just over four months.
It took a couple possessions for the offense to find any sort of groove. While the units found ways to get down field, they couldn't seem to get inside the 20-yard line.
That was until Childress struck Jordan Thompson with a bullet that went for a 65-yard touchdown pass straight down the center of the field. Finally, the Gold team was on the board.
It wasn't the last time Thompson would reach the end zone, as he did shortly there-after on a 10-yard pass from Paul Millard. The junior QB was able to find a hole in the defense's zone as Thompson sat waiting for the ball to reach his hands.
The third touchdown came on another deep pass play created by transfer Kevin White. White danced along the line of scrimmage after handling a screen pass before taking off down field in dead sprint on his way to the goal line. Tavon Austin may be gone, but White did his best to show everyone these athletes are still capable of filling in.
As time expired, Millard found Thompson once again deep down field for a touchdown right at the goal line. The Gold team was suddenly down just two points, and would attempt a conversion. Blue came up big and stopped Gold in the backfield to win the game.
By the end of the game, the quarterback competition looked strong. Millard finished with 185 yards and three touchdowns with 11 incompletions. Childress had seven incompletions, one touchdown, and 169 yards through the air.
In a crowded backfield, Dustin Garrison stood out. He is said to be at or near full health after tearing his ACL his freshman season two years ago. He was able to show his quickness and agility making cuts downfield on his way to 51 yards on seven carries.
Dreamius Smith and Wendell Smallwood also received a good amount of reps. Smith used his 217-lb frame to carry defenders on short yardage situations. Smallwood played the role of a quick back with straight line speed. Andrew Buie did not participate in the game.
Jordan Thompson carried the load on his back at wide receiver. The sophomore known as "squirt" by his teammates accumulated 123 yards on six receptions, and three touchdowns.
On defense, according to the eye-test, Ishmael Banks played with an intensity and fire to stand out. He was often seen flying to the ball, making tackles, and letting his teammates know who was making the play.
This will conclude the spring season for the Mountaineers as the spring semester comes to a close in the coming weeks.