DRESS REHEARSAL: Mustangs give fans first taste of 2017 season



August 28, 2017 - 12:00 AM

Mustang football fans eager for the first official snap of the season got a taste of the 2017 iteration of the Iola squad on Friday with the Blue and Gold scrimmage at Iola Municipal Stadium.
The game consisted of two 20-minute halves. 
First-year head coach David Daugharthy for the most part liked what he saw, as the gold team won 24-12.
“I think this is a good step of where we need to be going next week,” Daugharthy said. “We’ve been progressing every day and this is the best we’ve looked offensively so far so I just expect us to keep growing.”
Getting his first taste of varsity action was sophomore quarterback Casen Barker, who started for the junior varsity team last season and beat out several of his teammates early in the summer to grab the job going into the season.
With the exception of a couple of miscues, Barker handled himself well, showing that he was more than capable of being in command of the offense with displaying some playmaking ability with feet as well as his arm.
“I thought for the most part his reads were pretty good,” Daugharthy said. “He needs to be a little bit more careful with the football, he dropped it a couple of times and we can’t let that happen but there were a couple of times where he made some fantastic reads. There was one time where we were running outside and he pulled it, kept running, pulled it and them made a nice pitch that got us nine yards. If we can do, I’m all about that.”
But what really jazzed Daugharthy was the number of kids on both teams stepping up and making plays, especially offensively.
“You can definitely see that there’s a lot of talent on this team and I think it showed tonight,” Daugharthy said. “There were a couple kids that I wasn’t expect too much out of that I saw some pretty good things.”
Easily the highlight of the offensive showcase was senior wide receiver/running back/cornerback Isaac Vink who was able to show off his playmaking ability several times during the scrimmage as he scored twice, once on the ground and again on a pass from Barker. He also picked off a pass while on defense.
Vink spent the majority of his time at wide receiver last season but Daugharthy saw something in his athleticism that made the coach feel that his talents weren’t being fully utilized.
“He didn’t do much on offense last year aside from getting a few targets,” Daugharthy said. “But I knew he could run the ball. So we put him back at that wingback and he’s shown us what he’s made of. He has a lot of speed and he’s got a lot of football smarts. This was the first time we’ve kind of seen him go full speed and he has a lot of speed and smarts. I was really impressed, he’s dangerous when he gets into the open field.”
Defensively, the Mustangs showed some promise but plenty of wrinkles that need to be ironed out here in the next week.
Especially effort wise, Daugharthy saw plenty of room for improvement as he called on his team to put that extra work in while they’re on the field in his postgame speech.
In addition to the effort, Daugharthy is hoping his defense can start to form a more cohesive-whole as Friday creeps closer. 
“We need to switch gears to a more team defensive focus,” Daugharthy said. “Right now we’re trying to do individual, ‘I’ve got to do this 100 percent accurate’, opposed to understanding what the entire concept of the defense is. We’re not together. That’s the biggest problem I see.”

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