The competition continues
Mesa QBs show their stuff during scrimmage
Colorado Mesa University football coach Russ Martin didn’t declare any starters after the Mavericks’ scrimmage Saturday, but he was pleased with what he saw.
Now, the Mavericks will turn their attention toward the first game of the season, Aug. 30 at Humboldt State (Calif.) University.
“We had very good energy and very good effort,” Martin said. “There were some good things on both sides of the ball and some things to work on both sides of the ball.
“Early I was really pleased with the intensity of the first-team defense. They really played aggressive and smart. I was pleased from the offensive standpoint in that early they struggled but started putting things together. Both sides, it’s about focusing on consistency.”
Three quarterbacks, who each had opportunities to run the first-team offense, led the offense on nine scoring drives, including four from inside the 25.
Junior transfer Austen Fales led the offense to a score on his first series with a 75-yard pass to speedster Turmour Battle, a 5-foot-9, 175-pound junior from Denver. Battle played defensive back at Mendocino (Calif.) Junior College and was at the University of Wyoming before transferring to CMU.
“I think one of the other good things that came up is we have some big-play potential,” Martin said. “That’s what we’ve been looking for in both the run and the pass. If we can get that on a consistent basis, that changes what people can do inside to you.”
Fales, who led Hartnell (Calif.) Junior College to a bowl game victory last fall, completed 11 of 11 passes for 198 yards and three touchdowns in the situational scrimmage. He was sacked once. The offense scored on five possessions.
“I think it went pretty good,” Fales said. “At the beginning, the defense came to play. Our O-line blocked very good today. We were patient back there. The running backs were running hard. We’ve all been in the same meeting lately, and we’re starting to get on the same page.”
Fales led the offense to scores from 40 yards with touchdown passes to tight ends Drew Holder and Robert Felberg, a former QB.
Redshirt freshman Deke Cisco (6-foot-3, 190 pounds) completed 7 of 8 passes for 38 yards. He had nine rushes for 44 yards. The offense scored on three possessions.
He led the offense on an 11-play, 98-yard scoring drive with most of it on the ground. He completed two passes for 14 yards and had six rushes for 37 yards on the drive.
“I feel comfortable with it,” Cisco said of the offense. “I like it a lot. It’s not too complicated. It’s pretty easy.
“We ran a spread in high school. The coach gives me a signal, and I call a play. The only thing different is the tight end.”
Junior Jason Haferman was 2 for 8 for nine yards. He had one fumble and was sacked once, keeping the team in field goal range.
The fourth quarterback, sophomore Chris Henderson, who made two starts last season, was injured earlier in the week and didn’t participate in the scrimmage.
“We will take a look at the video, but Austen Fales had a couple big plays today,” Martin said. “He made a couple very good checks, and we had some receivers running good routes. I’m sure at the same time our secondary coverage wasn’t ideal either. Deke had some good drives. We will take a look at it and evaluate it.
“In our system, it’s not necessarily the best quarterback, it’s the guy that makes us the best team. One of the best decisions of the day was when we were down here third and goal at the six, everything broke down and Jason threw the ball away. We’re down here, we’ll get points. That was a great decision. We want them to understand defense makes good plays, too.”
The Mavericks have depth at running back with Jake Cimolino and Thomas Sua back. Sua had the run of the day, breaking several tackles to score on a 25-yard run on the first play on an overtime possession.
Freshman Dan Geubelle (Broomfield) showed the ability to make big plays as well, catching several screen passes, including one for a 26-yard touchdown.
The defense, despite missing three returning starters with injuries, made several plays as well. It forced one fumble and consistently stuffed the offense on goal-line stands.
“I was extremely pleased with the defense,” Martin said. “We got down in the goal-line situation, the defense won seven of the eight possessions down there. That is tremendous. We’ve put more emphasis on third and short, and our offense is executing better.”
Freshman defensive end Casey Walker, a Grand Junction High School graduate and University of Colorado transfer, made a tackle on one of the goal-line stands and saw a lot of action with the first-team defense.