FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The Northern Arizona football team conducted its first scrimmage Friday with mixed results on both sides of the ball with several individuals making good first impressions as the Lumberjacks prepare for their season opener at Arizona on Sept. 3.
"The details are going to be evaluated on tape," said Head Coach Jerome Souers. "There was some good energy today. I thought our defense made some great plays early in scrimmage. Some guys stood out like Taylor Malenfant, who made some plays, and the defensive line looked sharp. There are some things on tape to look at."
The defense had the early success, stopping some run plays and preventing any sustained drives. But the offense rebounded with several big plays and efficient play at the quarterback position.
"He is going to be a go-to guy," said Grossart. "He has shown in camp the ability to go up and make plays. He can get off press really well and is physical going to the ball. I want to get it to him as much as possible."
After a slow start, the running game got going in the second half of the workout. Junior Giovannie Dixon had a 46-yard run and scored on the next play. He finished with three carries for 61 yards to get back on track after two fumbles. Redshirt freshman Jamaal Perkins had six carries for 34 yards, showing his speed across the field. True freshman Chim Nga had seven carries for 62 yards including a 50-yard scoring run in his first action.
"It was average," said Grossart about the overall offensive effort. "We made some plays here and there. Gio got out on a couple. I made a couple good throws. We have to keep the ball off the ground and (focus on) ball security. We really need to execute our stuff a little better. We need to have 11 guys in the play. We did ok today."
The defense forced two fumbles early with Blake Bailey picking both up and had foursacks in the action. Senior Isaac Bond, one of the Big Sky sack leaders, had one, as well as Jake Phipps and Mitch Melugin. Jarret Bilbrey had a pair of sacks in the scrimmage.
"We had some big plays on offense as the scrimmage wore on and our defense had issues," said Souers. "We will be looking at both sides of the ball."
The team also worked on special teams with Drew Zamora getting several punts, while working on punt return. Kicker Matt Myers made all four field goals, connecting on all four beyond 44 yards with a long of 50.
NAU Scrimmage Statistics
RUSHING: Chim Nga 7-62-1; Giovannie Dixon 4-62-1; Jamaal Perkins 6-34-0; Bauman 1-4-0; Grossart 1-0-0.
PASSING: Chase Cartwright 7-8-0 97 1 TD; Cary Grossart 6-8 55; Nelson 5-6 39; Perry 1-1 7.
RECEIVING: Brandon Babineaux 3-59-1; Ify Umodu 4-30-0; R.J. Rickert 2-35-0; Mike Czyz 1-17-0; Dejzon Walker 2-11-0; Dan Adler 1-8-0; Jamaal Perkins 1-8-0; Jesse Bueno 1-7-0; Jake Hess 1-4-0; Chim Nga 1-4-0.
FIELD GOALS: Myers 50-47-44-47.
DEFENSE: Zack Williams 5 tackles, Mike Dosen 5 tackles, Ryan Reardon 4 tackles; Taylor Malenfant 2 PBU; Jake Phipps 1 Sack; Alec Hutton FR/TFL; Perry Jackson 2 tackles, 1 TFL; Craig Frum 2 tackles, Brandon Phillips 1 tackle, Blake Bailey 2 FR; Isaac Bond 1 TFL (sack), Eric Storey 1 tackle, Daivon Dumas 1 tackle, Dan Pela 1 tackle, Robert Watson 1 tackle, Jarret Bilbrey 2 sacks, Marcus Alford 2 tackles.