IHS bests Jemison in spring game

Published 4:41 pm Monday, May 21, 2018

The Isabella Mustangs ended spring football on a high note with a 31-3 victory against Jemison on May 18.

“Our spring has been up and down, but I thought they came out here and executed with great effort,” Isabella head coach Tate Leonard said. “We can build off of this.”

The Panthers hosted the spring game, which capped off a couple weeks of practice for both teams.

From the opening snap, Isabella was willing to take shots down the field and test the Jemison secondary.

“We want to air it out a little bit,” Leonard said. “They were loading the box, and it forced us to take some shots.”

Jarrett Baker received the opening snaps at quarterback before splitting time with Cole Atchison.

After turning the ball over on downs near the goal line, Isabella was prepared to do damage the next time it got the ball.

Baker hung in the pocket and hit Jonathan Alstott on a deep pass down to the opponent 11-yard line, which setup a quarterback keeper from Atchison to put the Mustangs on the board, 6-0.

Isabella’s defense recovered its second fumble of the early going. Shortly after Baker connected with Alstott on another deep ball, which resulted in a touchdown.

“It’s a feeling that you get when you look at the defense,” Baker said. “It’s all in the read.”

Just like that, the Mustangs were up 12-0 and had established a rhythm offensively heading into halftime.

Baker will be a senior next year, a role he has already begun to embrace during spring practice.

“We’ve all tried to step up and show more leadership then maybe we have,” Baker said. “It’s about setting a good example for the young kids as well.”

The Isabella lead continued to grow with a trio of second half scores.

Atchison ran for a second touchdown in the third quarter, while Jake Logan threw and ran for touchdowns in a modified fourth quarter that included a 20-minute running clock.

Micah Dinkard was on the receiving end of Logan’s passing touchdown.

A late drive by Jemison led to Daniel Martin kicking a field goal as time expired to erase Isabella’s shutout bid.

Both defenses had their share of bright spots throughout the contest.

Jemison forced a pair of turnover on downs in the red zone, and A.J. Jackson recorded a sack.

Hunter Lowery made an impact from his cornerback position with some excellent open field tackles.

Kaleb Brasher and Brett Johnson each recovered a fumble for Isabella, while Austin Jones had a sack.

Brasher, Johnson and Jones are all freshmen that have been thrust into playing valuable roles and learning on the fly throughout the spring for the Mustangs.

“Everybody’s new,” Leonard said. “We only have three returning starters on both sides of the ball. This was a fresh look. We feel pretty good about our first groups, but we’re still looking for those guys to backup and be role players.”

Preparing for a spring game can be quite the task, especially with all of the other events and graduation preparations going on in the month of May.

That is enhanced even more heading into a spring game against an opponent as opposed to an intrasquad scrimmage.

“It’s nice playing someone else, but its hard trying to prepare for another team and fix yourself,” Leonard said. “May is just crazy with so much going on.”