September 8, 2009

Southmoore and Memorial get used to Stardom

EDMOND, Okla. - It's been several years since Edmond Memorial was must see football for recruiting fans and in the case of the second-year Southmoore program it's the first time ever.

For the Southmoore Sabercats a bevy of division one prospects on the offensive side of the ball were the cause for attendance but early on it seemed that Southmoore's offense was much ado about nothing.

According to star junior quarterback Kendal Thompson the lack of one of those offensive stars was the reason the offense had a little trouble getting go in the first half.

"We didn't know we weren't going to have Austin Haywood until we went back to school to leave for the game," Thompson said of his talented tight end's noteworthy absence. "I think early, he was such a big part of our game plan it took some time to adjust, in the second half I think we looked better."

As is often the case the offensive struggles early on almost centrally revolved around the play of their quarterback, Thompson.

Throughout the summer the talk had been that Thompson had taken his game to a new level however some skeptics questioned how he would handled things when pressure was in his face, far from the controlled passing situations of 7-on-7.

Early on it looked like the skeptics had it right with Connor Myers and the rest of the Memorial defense causing problems for the talented signal caller.

However as the game wore on, things seemed to slow down for Thompson who showed nice arm strength on a couple of deep completions, including a 44-yard completion to Nyko Symonds and a 61-yard strike to Derek Serowski.

On the toss to Serowski Thompson evaded Myers and several other Memorial defenders before quickly setting his feet and making a strong toss up the left boundary to his long and lanky pass-catcher.

Symonds, a Norman North transfer, was a part of several big plays including an interception and a recovery of a blocked field goal, a kick that was blocked by Julian Wilson. Symonds on the day showed his reputation at North was well deserved as a guy who seems to live in the right place at the right time.

The toughest thing for the lone-committed player in the game, Wilson, to deal with is the role of a star. Last year little was known about him and as such he received little defensive game-planning attention and teams weren't afraid to throw at him defensively. But it's clear that this year teams are more than aware of the fact he'll be playing in Norman next fall.

"It's tough but I just have to make plays when I get them," Wilson said. "On offense I get doubled and on defense they throw a pass about once a quarter in my direction."

Should Austin Haywood make his return it should, in time, open things up for Wilson, at least on the offensive side of the ball.

Notably for the Sabercats senior running back Kyaunn Thompson did not take part in the game.

Memorial Making It's Way

Mark Walker had done an exemplary job getting Memorial headed back to their once proud tradition but it seems he may have left the best behind for first-year head coach Justin Merideth who boasts a pair of juniors who figure to be on division one football radars this time next year.

In the case of wide receiver/running back Kameron Doolittle schools are already beginning to take note of his talent with mail coming in from Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Tulsa, UCLA, Tennessee, Kansas and many others.

On Thursday night he did nothing to hurt his reputation as one the state's top juniors rushing up, over, and around the Southmoore defense in spite of splitting carries throughout the game.

His teammate, Myers, was similarly disruptive in the fashion that he not only was constantly involved but fell short of bringing home the big game-changing play the Bulldogs were in need of in the second half. In fact on Thompson's long completion to Serowski, it was Myers who had him all but sacked before Thompson squirmed out and found his senior receiver up the sideline.

However, that takes nothing away from Myers who battled all night with talented Southmoore center Mason Myers.


Kameron Doolittle: As mentioned Doolittle had a big night and did nothing to hurt his growing reputation as one of the state's top playmakers. Surprisingly he spent more time at running back than at slot receiver, but honestly it's a position he may have a future at.

He isn't a player with truly elite speed but has extremely quick feet and is nearly unstoppable in space; this is helped, in part, by Doolittle being much stronger and more capable of breaking tackles than a year ago.

Andrew Long: Long had looked good in the spring but wanted to see him in some live game action before any real steps were taken but after an impressive run after the catch that became the game-sealing touchdown there is no reason to hold out on him anymore. Long is young and has a long ways to go but is a good athlete with solid speed who will only continue to develop physically. In time he may be reminiscent of current Sooner Mossis Madu.

Connor Myers: Myers isn't the biggest defensive tackle, even on his own team, but his never-ending motor, incredible balance and quickness make him a very real division one prospect. He is going to have to prove himself to a lot of people due to his limited measurables but in time someone will take note of his considerable talent.

Myers looks as good as any point in his career, he has trimmed up some and looks as strong as ever. He had some troubles with the defensive tackle who shares his name but there is no question that once the big senior gets his hands on you he understands how to control the line of scrimmage.

Derek Serowski: Serowski is one of the forgotten members of Southmoore's talented offense but with a division-one offer already in hand, he really shouldn't be. He is a tall receiver who is better in the air than most realize and isn't afraid to go through traffic to make a catch. Serowski is also probably the most sure-handed receiver in the state.

Nyko Symonds: Symonds isn't overwhelming physically or athletically but as mentioned he simply just makes one play after another. Whether it was special teams, offense, or defense, Symonds just continued to make plays. After watching him it seems more and more that his future may be at cornerback where his size would be more natural than at slot receiver.

Kendal Thompson: Thompson struggled early on but ending up passing for over 250-yards and showed good arm strength on a pair of deep passes. Once he settled down he started showing better touch on his intermediate passes and a confidence in the pocket that was lacking in the early going. Thompson had sold himself as a pocket passer this summer but was convincing in proving that he can ad-lib as well.

Julian Wilson: The lone committed player in the game fought off leg cramps for much of the night but did block a field goal and have a couple of short catches. Obviously the focus of Memorial's defensive game plan was to slow Wilson and his speed to get deep. Defensively the Bulldogs were very cautious about when they threw at him but he showed an ability, and willingness, to hit and make tackles.

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