By BEN JOHNSON
David Dick’s offensive line created a impenetrable pocket, and he took full advantage. The senior quarterback found Kourtland McMillan over the middle of the field and dropped a near-perfect pass into McMillan’s hands for a 36-yard touchdown strike.
“He made a very good read on that play,” Tahlequah head coach Brad Gilbert said. “As a matter of fact, I was looking opposite of where I thought he was going to throw. But he made the proper read, so he did well.”
That was one of many plays the resulted in a touchdown during Tahlequah’s intrasquad scrimmage on the Tigers’ practice field on Saturday afternoon. Dick also scored a touchdown on the ground, maneuvering around the left side of the line and scampering 30 yards up the middle of the field for a score. That came after Dick crossed the goal line on a play earlier, when the Tigers were working on short-yardage plays.
“He’s matured over the past year,” Gilbert said of Dick. “He’s had a full year under his belt, so he feels more comfortable.”
At first glance, the pristine setting was almost spoiled before things got started with starting defensive tackle Wesley Rivas walking around in a boot on his right foot. However, Tahlequah assistant coach Stan King said Rivas only twisted his ankle (at practice earlier in the week), and the boot was simply a precautionary measure.
Gilbert later confirmed the injury report.
“He’s good to go for next week,” said Gilbert, whose team will take on Muldrow and Miami at Doc Wadley Stadium on Friday night in the first scheduled scrimmage of the 2013 season for the Tigers.
“He tweaked his ankle (on Friday), and (the boot) is just a precautionary thing. He’ll be fine next week and ready to go.”
Rivas was the only Tahlequah starter that missed time on Saturday. Nearly everyone else got reps on both sides of the ball, including Colton Wright (running back/linebacker), Brandon Conrad (running back/cornerback) and McMillan (wide receiver/cornerback).
While working on goal line execution, Wright scored a short-yardage touchdown, and McMillan hauled in a pass from Tahlequah’s other quarterback, Will Carlile. After the ball was moved further away from the goal line, Wright also reeled off a 20-yard run down the right side.
In addition to Wright and Conrad in the backfield, Dustin Wiley carried the ball on occasion and could possibly see some spot action on Friday nights.
He certainly caught Gilbert’s eye on Saturday.
“I’m gonna tell ya, Dustin Wiley, a sophomore, has a high motor and runs the ball really well,” Gilbert said. “We aren’t scared to put him in there, too. We’ve got to keep everyone fresh, and he’s accepted his role, and he knows if he takes care of the football, as a sophomore, he’s going to get the opportunity to play.”
In all, it was a lengthy day for the Tigers. The orange-and-white scrimmage came only an hour or two after a morning practice.
“This morning, we threw a lot at them, and they responded really well,” Gilbert said. “We have a bunch of guys that are committed. And that’s the first thing; we always tell them their greatest ability is dependability. And they’re here, and that’s the first and most important thing.”