Youngstown State Spring Game Provides Highlights

New YSU Coach Eric Wolford advised all to circle the annual Red-White Spring game on their calenders.  He promised at halftime of the home basketball game against Butler that there would be tailgating for the first time ever as a way to hype things up and a way for the community to enjoy fellowship and networking.  Wolford had to be happy with the upgrade from Spring games past as the Red got by the White, 48-20, in front of well over 2,000 fans.

The way the game was set up, the Red team were the “ones“, or first teamers.  The White team were the “twos“, or second teamers.  According to Wolford, no one was guaranteed anything, so with a strong showing against the Red team, any member of the White team could be promoted to starter status.

The two big questions coming into the game remained unanswered.  Marc Kanetsky and Kurt Hess (above) both had good showings at QB as they alternated series with both offenses.  Kanetsky finished the day 20-32 for 213 yards and a TD, he also ran one in from two yards out.  Hess was 26-33 for 350 yards and 3 TD.  Statistically, the edge goes to Hess, but Kanetsky did a better job leading drives that resulted in scores.  Hess was critical of himself afterwards.  “There were some reads that I made not as fast as I would have liked to, but getting the ball to the receivers we have so they can do the things they do worked out well for me today.”

The other unanswered question was will the special teams be a drawback as they were last year?  There were two field goals attempted, one by starter Stephen Blose, that were missed.  Blose also missed an extra point attempt while succeeding six times.  There were a couple of mishandled punts that rolled around on the turf.  The blocking on punts was not full contact, so that was an untested commodity.  Special Teams will win or lose a team games and Wolford knows how important they become when in a close one.

The factors that were expected to click did not disappoint.  Dominique Barnes caught 10 passes for 174 yards and two TDs.  Both of Barnes’ touchdowns (27 and 35 yards) came from Hess passes.  Jelani Berassa stepped it up catching 8 balls for 107 yards and a touchdown. 

In the rushing department, Torrian Pace (above, being served water by injured Torrance Nicholson) ran hard and got 13 carries for 109 yards and a pair of scores.  Jamaine Cook (pictured below) got 14 touches for 48 yards.  Dan Banna, the younger brother of Red team FB Kyle Banna, had 10 carries for 93 yards to lead the White team.  Dan Banna commented on what it was like to play against a team his brother was on fo the first time ever.  “We are always competing, but usually on the same side.  Today you got to see which Banna was better,” remarked the younger Dan as brother Kyle laughed.

Pace praised the offensive line and gave his thoughts on what will happen at quarterback.  “The O-line did a great job and it all works because of them.  Both of the quarterbacks played well and it is in the coaches hands.  I have faith in both of them and trust whoever I am lined up behind on the field.  I think they can both play”

After the game, Coach Wolford commented on the positives.  “I’m excited by the great turnout today.  I was happy with things I saw on both sides of the ball and you really have to credit the White for playing very competitively.  We are now entering the most important phase of the year, our Summer program.  As coaches, you cannot monitor the players but it is a time when you can make the biggest gains or losses and we need to make alot of gains.”

A man of his word, Wolford and members his staff went through the tailgate lot visiting the fans who came out in celebration of YSU Football.  “It was good to see.  This community is ready to change and we are all going to work together to do positive things.”

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