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Gamecocks crank up practice intensity

Gamecocks crank up practice intensity

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New Brockton's Julian Noble (20) drags down Opp quarterback Hal Smithart after a scramble during last Friday's game in Opp.

Despite the 43-16 final score, there was plenty to build on from New Brockton’s opening loss to Opp last Friday.

“We were inconsistent. I thought we played hard in spurts,” Gamecocks head coach Zack Holmes said this week. “I think what happened is we came out and drove the ball down the field, then Opp cranked up the intensity. We didn’t match their intensity. They went to a gear we didn’t have.”

The Gamecocks went down the field with an impressive drive to start their first possession. Jamarcus Brown scored on an 8-yard run.

But a special teams mistake turned momentum and New Brockton couldn’t recapture it. There were plenty of lessons learned by a Gamecocks team that had 14 of 22 starters making their first varsity start.

“They learned that competing is different than playing,” Holmes said. “It’s a different level of intensity. … I told the guys, you get experience competing by competing in ball games or by practicing at a game intensity. That’s been our focus this week is to really crank up the intensity level at practice so we’re comfortable in those competition situations.”

New Brockton (0-1) plays Daleville (0-3) in the Gamecocks’ home opener at Bates Memorial Stadium in Enterprise.

“I’m excited to see what we do on Friday. Daleville’s going to compete,” Holmes said. “They’re really athletic. Coach (Desmond) Lett, I think they have an ‘us against the world’ mentality. They play really hard and play fearless. They really get after it.

“I told our guys they’re going to be hungry for a win. They’re very close in proximity to us. It’s going to be a big deal Friday.”

Brown gained 69 yards on 17 carries last week. Quarterback Kaden Cupp had a 13-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Cupp was 8-for-16 passing for 96 yards. Brandon Johnson caught three passes and Damarion Holt had two catches for 41 yards.

Andrew Cashin added a safety for New Brockton. Avery Weed, Jordan Tacey and Tre Boland all had five unassisted tackles and one assisted tackle, while Julian Noble had four unassisted and two assisted stops. Boland added a fumble recovery and Colton Marsh an interception.

Again, plenty to build on. Holmes said it was a learning experience for his offensive line, which includes three sophomores.

“We had a couple guys who are really good size on our offensive line. I told our coaches, ‘For those guys, that’s the first game those guys have played when they weren’t the biggest guys on the field,’” the coach said. “And that’s an adjustment going from ninth to tenth grade. A lot of those guys haven’t played since middle school ball.

“A lot of times you get a lot of those butterflies worked out in the summer with 7-on-7s or OTAs. That didn’t happen this year.”

He added that he didn’t want to take anything from Opp, that the Bobcats were “outstanding.” He also noted it was Opp’s third game of the season.

“As you play you learn lessons,” Holmes said. “They were two chapters ahead of us.”

Follow Ken Rogers on Twitter @debamabeat.

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