Getting Healthy / North receiving corps battling injuries, illness

The injury woes continued for the Columbus North football receiving corps after D’Andre Scruggs tweaked his knee on Monday to delay his recovery from ACL injury and Hunter Huser also missed Friday’s scrimmage against Greenwood because of an illness.

But the Bull Dogs passing game still had a solid performance with sophomore Preston Terrell back on the field. 

North quarterback Trenton Kelley connected with Terrell eight times for 103 yards and two touchdowns while completing 11 of his 15 passes for 136 total yards with three touchdowns in his 37 plays of action.

Each team ran 15 plays beginning from its own 35 yard-line, 10 plays from the opponent’s 10 yard-line and 12 plays from the opponent’s 35 yard-line before running 16 more plays with the junior varsity. 

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Terrell’s two touchdown catches came from a 7-yard catch and 8-yard reception during the series that began at the Woodmen 35. His longest play came from a one-handed grab in the middle of the field that went for 28 yards. 

Kelley’s third touchdown pass was a 10-yard throw to Luke Riley. North scored a total of five touchdowns, with running backs Michael Johnson scoring on a 3-yard run on the 14th play in a series that started at the Bull Dogs own 35 and Blake Huffman scoring a 1-yard touchdown on the fifth play in the series that began at the Greenwood 10. 

North coach Tim Bless said the Bull Dogs offense was the most explosive its been all preseason. 

“With a veteran like Trenton behind the center, good things are bound to happen,” Bless said. “I thought our offensive line was rock solid in pass protection, and our run game got ignited a little bit.”

As solid as the passing game may have looked, the Bull Dogs are still waiting to get it’s entire receiving corps back. Terrell is just now getting back to form from recovering from an injured hamstring and said playing in the scrimmage felt great. North also was without wide receiver Langston Lunsford because he is still making up a few missed practices.

Huser is expected to be back from his illness in time for the opening game on Friday against Franklin. Only time will tell how long Scruggs will be out, but he’s hoping he can start making his way back on the field by Week 2 against Columbus East.  

“It’s doing better,” Scruggs said of his knee. “I’m just trying to get my range of motion back and get back in uniform. I’m just working until Week 1 and see how it does. I might get a couple reps Week 1, and then Week 2 I’m going all out.”

The only touchdowns that North gave up defensively were the three touchdowns that Greenwood scored during the series that started from the the Bull Dogs 10. Bless praised the defensive line for getting a a handful of tackles for losses. 

“We probably played six or seven guys there, which is good to see developing that depth,” Bless said. “Played four linebackers pretty consistently. Tay Wells is kind of the ring leader of that bunch, and I think he made his plays, but the other guys stepped up, as well.”

While North’s defensive line is enjoying its depth up front the receiving corps will continue to try to make things happen with a short staff. Terrell’s performance on Friday showed that he is ready to play his part in keeping the offense together, and Scruggs is still finding ways to make an impact while missing action on the field. 

“D’Andre helps a lot with the team, too, even though he’s out,” Terrell said. “He’ll come over and tell me what to do and say what I need to fix, and Trenton will help out on the routes. I feel great about (this season).” 

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Columbus North football will host Youth/Middle School Football Night for all area football players (Northside, Central, Bartholomew County Bears and PAAL) at Friday’s 7 p.m. season opener against Franklin.

Players are encouraged to werar their game jerseys or team t-shirts. They should enter the stadium through the team gate and are welcome on the field during pregame warmups from 6:15 to 6:40 p.m. and will be recognized at halftime.