Scrimmages are supposed to help coaches sort out their position battles heading into the regular season.
Tell that to George Washington coach Steve Edwards Jr. His team came into Friday’s opening scrimmage against Man looking to get some clarity with its three-way quarterback battle, but nothing much changed.
R.T. Alexander, Brady Adams and Brody Thompson all threw touchdown passes on their first series as the Patriots fired the ball all over the yard at Steve Edwards Sr. Field in South Hills. That trio combined for eight TD passes, five of them by Alexander, who got the start in both the 10-play series to begin the workout and the game-regulation play at the end.
GW wasn’t the only Kanawha Valley team starting its scrimmages on Friday, as South Charleston hosted both Sissonville and Nicholas County. The Black Eagles, who had a bit of a QB duel of their own in the off-season, appear to have settled on freshman Trey Dunn as their starter, and he threw four TDs and ran in another score on Friday. Shyleik Kinney, last year’s starter, played wide receiver and cornerback on Friday.
Alexander, who was selected as the Kanawha Valley Rookie of the Year as a freshman at St. Albans in 2017, moved back to the area after playing last season at Lowndes High in Valdosta, Georgia. He is trying to succeed Grant Wells, GW’s four-year starter at QB who now plays at Marshall. Alexander completed 13 of 18 passes Friday for 255 yards and five scores with one interception.
But Adams and Thompson earned their stripes, too. Adams was 4 of 4 for 99 yards and two TDs and Thompson finished 4 of 6 for 124 yards with one score.
“They all did a nice job,’’ Edwards said, “and they all bring a little something different to the table. That’s both good and bad for everybody, but I look at it as a positive. As long as they’re performing and doing well, I’m happy.
“We got them good reps behind our best quality line. They’re good athletes and that’s OK, because you never know. They’re just a bloop and a blast away from being No. 1, anyway. Everybody got tired but fought through and persevered, and I’m happy with the way they played.’’
GW’s top two receivers, Alex Mazelon and Brayden McCallister, each enjoyed field days as they were consistently able to get behind the Hillbillies’ defense and catch long passes. McCallister ended with eight grabs for 244 yards and five TDs, catching at least one scoring pass from all three quarterbacks. Mazelon ended with six receptions for 151 yards and two TDs, including the day’s long gain of 61 yards.
The Patriots seemed intent on finding out as much about their QBs as possible, as they opened the scrimmage with five players split out wide in receiving positions.
Meanwhile, GW’s run defense, which allowed more than 311 yards per game last season, permitted 107 yards on 35 carries with one TD while its starters were on the field. Linebacker Michael Ray, the team’s top returning tackler, had two quarterback sacks and a fumble recovery.
n At South Charleston, Dunn appears to have locked up quarterbacking duties and coach Donnie Mays was pleased with Dunn’s play on Friday.
On the Black Eagles’ opening 10-play series against Sissonville, Dunn completed 3 of 5 passes for 78 yards, including a 35-yarder to Tyson Rohmiller on a short toss that resembled a jet sweep. Dunn also ran twice for 18 yards on that series. Rohmiller wound up with two scoring receptions. Romeo Dunham had a TD catch and nearly added another score on a 30-yard run, but the gain was negated by a penalty.
Kinney, who became SC’s starting quarterback late in his freshman season and maintained those duties all of last season, caught another of Dunn’s TD throws Friday.
“Shyleik more or less wants to play receiver,’’ Mays said, “and wants to play defense, too. He wanted to make that move. That’s where his head is. It’s best for the team to put him out there on both sides of the ball. There’s where we are right now.
“Plus, Trey has earned that quarterback spot. We put him out there in June because we felt he was ready. He gets it. He comes from a quarterback background in his family. His dad played quarterback, and he knows the lay of the land. He came out today and played really well. It was his first time and he was nervous, and that’s understandable. He got better every single rep, and I’m proud of his effort.’’