NATCHITOCHES — True freshman quarterback James David Almond, a former Haughton standout, and sophomore Rod Davis connected on touchdown passes of 29 and 21 yards Saturday morning as the fast-moving Northwestern State offense produced eight scores, 39 points and 398 yards on 68 snaps in the Demons’ first scrimmage of preseason football.
Almond completed eight of 13 passes for 106 yards with an interception on a deep throw.
He led the four quarterbacks, none of whom have played in a game at NSU before and only one, redshirt freshman Daniel Hazlewood, who was on campus for spring practice. TJ. Fleeton threw for 68 yards (3-9), junior college transfer Zach Adkins had 66 (7-13) and Hazlewood went 5-for-7 but for only 27 yards.
“We saw a lot of good things out of J.D. Almond today,” NSU first-year head coach Jay Thomas said. “We’re rotating all the guys around behind the first-team offensive line, with four seniors up there, and we want to give every guy the opportunity to line up behind them so we can make the best evaluation.
“(Junior college transfer) Zach has two years under his belt at a high level of junior college football, and Bear Hazlewood took all the snaps in spring ball here, and T.J. Fleeton is very talented. With the three freshmen, the future is very bright at that position. We’ll give it a few more days before honing in on a starter there.”
A 2-yard Rob Walker run and a 2-yard Matthew Flores catch and run from Fleeton were the other touchdowns. Field goals by newcomers Chris Moore (47, 30 yards) and John Shelton (29, 31) added to the scoring while Moore went 2-for-2 and Shelton 1-of-2 on extra points.
There was only one turnover, an interception by Baylor transfer Jemarcus Johnson, a sophomore cornerback, and just four penalties, two interference calls, an offensive face mask and a false start, during a 65-minute competition late Saturday morning. The heat index was 125 degrees at Turpin Stadium.
“I was real pleased with what happened today,” Thomas said. “This was the sixth day of camp, the second day of full pads, and they competed as good as you could ask. I am very pleased with where we are. It’s a good start.”
Davis, a Many product, had three catches for 59 yards while the busiest receiver was true freshman Shakeir Ryan of Lafayette-Northside, who caught six for 34 yards. A dozen Demons contributed to the 23-completion total.
Natchitoches Central product De’Mard Llorens, a true freshman, broke off a couple of long runs and led the running game with 71 yards on six tries. Flores was next with 27 yards on six carries as the Demons ran for 128 yards and a 4.9 yards per carry average, while producing an overall 5.8 average per play offensively.