FOOTBALL: Steak or Dogs?

Danny Schoenbaechler

The White team utilized a 19-4 run to claim the Red-White game title.

Wait a minute.

Doesn’t a 19-4 run sound more like something coming from Diddle Arena than Smith Stadium?

Apparently not anymore, as the new Elson-modified scoring system led to a close finale to the spring football season.

The White team, also known as the offense, won Saturday’s installment of the Red-White game by pulling out a 50-41 win.

Coach David Elson installed the unusual scoring system as a way to play a competitive scrimmage between the offense and defense.

If the offensive players appeared to be salivating when they neared the endzone, it may have been because of a culinary-based incentive.

The two teams placed a meal on the line, with the winners eating steak and the losers eating hot dogs.

To make victory even more enjoyable and defeat more taxing, the defensive coaches now must cook the food for both squads tomorrow evening.

Elson, of course was going to eat what ever he wanted regardless of who won.

“I had absolutely nothing to lose,” Elson said laughingly.

Freshman linebacker Ricky Watkins isn’t too excited about eating the less glamorous coach-grilled hot dogs.

“The defense would like to be eating the steak on Wednesday,” Moore said. “I’m going to find a way to get me some steak. Maybe I can get the offensive linemen to send me some scraps.”

Moore led the defense with 13 tackles and two interceptions.

The tackles weren’t individually worth points but the interceptions were worth six points a piece.

Elson was pleased with Watkins’ play.

“Ricky Watkins really stepped up and made some plays,” Elson said.

Watkins saw extra action due to projected starting linebackers Charles Thompson and Deonte Smith being out with injuries.

Elson is the former defensive coordinator and has been accused of favoring the defense, but on Saturday he gleefully boasted about his offense.

Two reasons he can be so confident are the youngsters in his backfield.

During last year’s Red-White game, the names Justin Haddix and Lerron Moore weren’t listed anywhere near the top of the projected depth chart.

Moore, a sophomore running back, went on to rush for 1,490 yards and Haddix, a freshman quarterback threw for 1,875 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Elson said that having his starting quarterback set already is a nice luxury.

“It does make a difference,” Elson said. “He can be a leader all summer.

Haddix completed 13-of-19 passes for 162 yards and one touchdown.

Moore carried the ball only nine times and amassed 45 yards.

“I’ve got a lot of work to do and I think everybody has room for improvement,” Moore said. “I feel like we are going to be a great backfield.”

The backfield looks to be deep as well, with freshman G.J. Woolridge gaining 86 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries. Fellow freshman Tony West ran for 25 yards on just five carries.

The Toppers have made the Division I-AA playoffs each of the last four seasons, winning the 2002 National Championship.

They will open next season at Division I-A Kansas State on Sept. 4.

Western opened its championship campaign by losing 48-3 against the Wildcats.

Elson knows there is plenty of work to be done before September, but for now he is going to enjoy the end of spring practice by slicing into a steak.

Reach Danny Schoenbaechler at [email protected]