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Smith’s two picks highlight NSU’s final scrimmage


Staff Reports



NATCHITOCHES —Senior linebacker Tyler Smith picked off two passes Saturday morning, one which potentially could have been returned for a touchdown and the other to deny a two-point conversion try, as Northwestern State staged an hour-long controlled scrimmage at Turpin Stadium.

Freshman James David Almond, a former Haughton star, completed 3-of-5 passes for 13 yards.

The Demons ran 51 plays from scrimmage along with nearly another 20 special teams snaps in a format with no live tackling. Smith’s first interception came near midfield and his return was whistled to a halt, although it appeared he might have been able to score. The second pickoff stymied a two-point attempt.

“We didn’t do any live work because as we finished the week we were stumbling a bit and we’ve had plenty of contact every day,” said new coach Jay Thomas, “so we felt good about getting repetitions today and making it as competitive and game-like as possible, getting special teams reps and facing different scenarios.”

The offense started series from the 35, 45 and defense’s 45 yard lines, getting four snaps from each point. There was one play run in a goalline scenario, with quarterback Zach Adkins hitting fellow junior college transfer Bryant Mitchell in the corner of the end zone for a 3-yard touchdown, the only score in the scrimmage portion of the workout.

Adkins topped four quarterbacks with 76 yards on 7-of-12 aim. Redshirt freshman Daniel Hazlewood went 5 for 6 for 20 yards but suffered the goalline interception on the two-point try after the Adkins-Mitchell TD. True freshman T.J. Fleeton was 1-5-1 for seven yards.

Thomas said the Demons will name their starting quarterback in the coming days, perhaps as soon as Monday.

“It’s been very competitive. Every one brings something to the table and it’s going to be a tough decision. We’ll make that decision very soon.”

Linebacker Tyler Roussel topped the defensive charts with four tackles, while Smith was among eight players to make three stops.

The Demons wrapped up their second full week of camp with the scrimmage. They will get Sunday off, then practice Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 3:30 before a mock game Thursday evening at 6. Then they begin game-week preparations for their Thursday, Aug. 29 opener at Missouri State.

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