Kent Ganious had just made the play of the day.
On what turned out to be the last play of the annual Trinity Valley Community College Red & White scrimmage Saturday at Bruce Field, Ganious picked off quarterback Tucker Carter and returned it 22 yards for what appeared to be a game-winning touchdown.
As he high-stepped to the end zone, Ganious held the ball high and then fell across the goal line splash-down style.
Penalty flags went flying.
New rule next year in college and junior college football: excessive celebration penalties take points off the board and are marked 15 yards from the spot of the foul.
As it turns out, Ganious’ interception still clinched a 41-40 win for the defense over the offense (points were awarded to each unit for, among other things, turnovers, long gains and fourth-down stops). But it offered TVCC Head Coach Brad Smiley one last teaching opportunity in what he said has been a successful spring.
“That was a great teaching moment that these guys can pass along to the freshmen when they get in camp,” said Smiley, who saw his team’s monthlong spring workouts come to an end with the scrimmage. “I was pleased with it overall. Offense started a little sluggish, defense was whipping ’em pretty good, but then they finally got going.”
Smiley said the coaching staff was evaluating players not as much on which side won or lost, but on individual effort and knowledge of assignments. He also said coaches kept an eye on position battles that will be key to the team in the fall.
Among those positions is quarterback, where Carter, a sophomore, and redshirt freshman Deric Davis are slugging it out.
While a decision won’t likely be made until late summer, Davis stated his case loudly. The Arlington Bowie product was 9 of 15 for 164 yards passing and two touchdowns — one a 90-yarder to Robert McWright. He also rushed seven times for 36 yards. He wasn’t intercepted or sacked.
Carter finished 10 of 22 passing for 141 yards and the Ganious interception. He was sacked three times — by defensive ends Kennedy Jones and Jerron Harrison and once by defensive tackle Matt DeLeon — who added to his monster scrimmage with a fumble recovery and a pass knockdown at the line of scrimmage.
McWright’s touchdown catch — which was nearly cut short when defensive end Parker Holloway almost ran him down from behind — was one of two touchdowns. The other came on a three-yard toss from Davis to Derel Walker. The score was made possible by DeLeon’s fumble recovery of a botched snap.
Brad Dunavant, an all-conference punter last season, was 2 of 3 on field goals (hitting from 33 and 38 and missing from 38). TVCC will be looking to replace Jaimie Salazar, an All-American who left Athens for the University of Arizona.
While Davis led all rushers in yardage, redshirt freshman Mason Hayes got a bulk of carries. He was handed the ball nine times, rushing for 34 yards. McWright rushed three times for 33 yards — including dashes of 15 and 16 yards off draws.