KENT: The final play of Kent State’s jersey scrimmage, a 6-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Colin Reardon to receiver Josh Boyle, was the only touchdown in the annual game at Dix Stadium on Saturday morning.
However, it’s a go-to connection the Golden Flashes hope to witness numerous times when the 2014-15 season starts in late August.
For now, Saturday’s touchdown ensured a 39-26 victory for KSU’s offense, halting the defense’s two-year reign of wearing the coveted blue jerseys that the victor earns the right to have each year.
The jersey scrimmage is scored by the coaches with points awarded for good plays on both offense and defense in addition to traditional scoring.
“It’s good for [the offense] to see that they can move the football,” Flashes coach Paul Haynes said after the offense’s come-from-behind win. “There’s still a lot of things we have to do better on that side of the football, but it’s good for them to get a win under their belts.”
Early on, the Flashes’ defense looked like it was headed for a three-peat, holding the lead for a majority of the scrimmage with interceptions by safeties Nate Holley [sophomore] and Jake McVay [redshirt freshman].
Haynes, a defensive standout during his days at Kent State as a walk-on in the late 1980s, liked a majority of what he saw from the defense throughout the scrimmage.
“There were a lot of good things and a lot of things we have to work on,” he said. “I liked the enthusiasm on defense and they made a lot of plays … [creating] turnovers [is something] we didn’t do very well last year. At least we got some today.”
The offense got rolling late in the scrimmage when redshirt freshman quarterback Nate Strock found sophomore fullback Steve Nagy on third-and-short, resulting in a key first down and the offense’s first lead of the day 22-21.
Although the defense quickly reclaimed the lead when redshirt freshman defensive tackle Jontey Byrd broke through the line for a sack, a 40-yard field goal by junior kicker Anthony Melchiori made it 25-23 and swung the advantage back to the offense for good.
Melchiori was two-for-two on field goals, including a 37-yarder.
“I’m feeling really good, strong and healthy,” Melchiori said. “I came back a little early last year [from a hamstring injury] because I’m a competitor. But now, I’m back to full strength and like always, working to get better each day.”
Sophomore Brad Miller added a 32-yard field goal.
The Flashes have one more week of practice before concluding camp with the annual Spring Game at 1 p.m. Saturday at Dix Stadium. The game is free and open to the public.
At noon, an hour before the Spring Game, Kent State will host youth football and cheer clinics for children ages 4 through 14. The clinics feature football fundamentals and cheer routines, with an emphasis on teamwork and sportsmanship. In addition, campers will receive meal vouchers courtesy of sponsor Beef ‘O’ Brady’s in Springfield. To register, call Dennis Watson at 330-672-8830.