By DAVID CLAYBOURN
T.J. Hughes kicked field goals of 37 and 30 yards to give the White team a 20-14 victory over the Red in the Greenville Lions’ spring football game on Thursday night at T.A. “Cotton” Ford Stadium.
Hughes put the White team ahead for good with the 37-yarder with 8:06 remaining and then added the 30-yarder after Jeremy Myers-Wise’s 7-yard touchdown run was called back because of a holding penalty.
The game wrapped up three weeks of spring training for the Lions, who are trying to end a string of three straight winless seasons.
“I know we are ahead of where we were last year,” said Lions coach Marvin Sedberry.
Sedberry officiated the game because of a mix-up on the officials’ part. Only one official showed up to call the game.
Sedberry called back one Lion touchdown, a 41-yard interception return by Red defender Datristion Fite, on a roughing-the-passer penalty.
“It wasn’t hard,” Sedberry said. “He (the Lion defender) was roughing the passer.”
The White team took advantage of that penalty by scoring the game’s first touchdown seven plays later on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Trevon Heard to Jacob Mitchell. Hughes converted to make it 7-0 with 1:54 left in the second quarter.
The Red team responded with a 59-yard, seven-play drive directed by quarterback Spencer Gilbert. Gilbert connected with wide receiver D’erren Wilson on a 27-yard completion, then dashed 13 yards on a keeper before finishing off the drive with a 6-yard touchdown run. Gilbert, who also punted, kicked off and played wide receiver, was unable to convert the extra point as the two teams went into halftime with the White nursing a 7-6 lead.
The White stretched its lead to 14-6 with a 50-yard scoring drive topped off on a 13-yard touchdown run by quarterback Matt Riskey. Hughes converted.
The Red team bounced back with an 80-yard, five-play drive. Myers-Wise, at quarterback, fired completions of 29 yards to Gilbert, 12 yards to Gilbert and a 33-yarder to Wilson before dashing 10 yards for the touchdown. Gilbert then ran for the two-point conversion to tie it at 14-14 with 11:51 remaining.
Gilbert finished as the game’s leading rusher with 66 yards on 12 carries, plus was 2-of-13 passing for 30 yards, caught three passes for 85 yards and returned a punt for 45 yards.
Myers-Wise was 4-of-6 passing for 88 yards, while Heard was 6-of-14 for 62 yards.
Riskey wound up quarterbacking for both teams, going 1-of-2 passing for 7 yards and running for 49 yards on 13 carries for the White team and was 2-of-5 passing for 24 yards for the Red team.
The Red, which consisted of the first offense and second defense, outgained the White team, 239-201. The No. 1 defense and No. 2 offense played for the White team.
“From what I saw of the No. 1s, they played pretty good,” said Sedberry. “We had some kids make some plays. Had a few licks passed.”
Returning all-district defensive end John Franklin delivered a couple of the biggest hits in the game. Franklin had several tackles for losses.
“At least the game went all the way to the end,” said Sedberry. “There was some effort out of some we haven’t seen in a few weeks. Obviously, we have some things we need to work on,” he said.
The Lions will open the 2013 season on Aug. 30 at Princeton.