By John R. Schirmer
LITTLE ROCK – The Nashville Scrappers opened the season with a 28-22 victory over Watson Chapel Monday night, Aug. 20, at War Memorial Stadium.
The Scrappers jumped out to a 14-2 lead in the first quarter before Watson Chapel scored two unanswered TDs to take a 15-14 advantage into halftime.
Player of the game Ty Basiliere caught two touchdown passes from Jake Moorer in the third quarter to put Nashville on top to stay.
Watson Chapel added a touchdown early in the fourth quarter, but the Scrapper defense kept the Wildcats out of the endzone for the remainder of the game.
The Zero Week game saw a number of mistakes associated with early season contests.
Nashville lost one of two fumbles, while Watson Chapel lost four of seven.
The Scrappers threw three interceptions; Watson Chapel gave up two.
The penalty flag flew for both teams. Nashville was penalized 12 times for 127 yards. The Wildcats were penalized 12 times for 91 yards.
Many of the turnovers and penalties came in the third and fourth quarters. “It was a sloppy second half,” Coach Mike Volarvich said after the game. “Turnovers made it kind of sloppy. We’ll get them cleaned up.”
The first half also saw its share of miscues.
“We had some missed assignments,” Volarvich said. “We challenged [the players] at halftime to not have as many missed assignments. We talked about self-inflicted wounds.”
Volarvich told the Scrappers to take care of things they can control, like cutting down on pre-snap penalties and going the correct way on a play. “Sometimes we went the wrong way. We’ll get these things cleaned up,” he said.
The good thing about a Zero Week game is that the Scrappers “have 11 days to correct what’s wrong today,” Volarvich said. The Scrappers will play at Hope Friday, Aug. 31.
Levester Gillard scored the first touchdown of the season for the Scrappers on a 9-yard pass from Moorer with 9:15 left in the first quarter. Jhonny Pioquinto kicked the first of four PATs to give Nashville a 7-0 lead.
Watson Chapel trimmed the lead to 7-2 by forcing a safety at the 7:12 mark in the first quarter.
Nashville came back and took a 14-2 lead on a 15-yard pass from Moorer to Kalob Carpenter with 2:04 to go in the first quarter.
Watson Chapel scored on a 56-yard pass late in the first quarter but missed the PAT, leaving the score 14-8.
The Wildcats took a 15-14 lead midway through the second quarter on a four-yard pass.
Basiliere dominated the third quarter. His first score came on a 27-yard pass from Moorer with 6:10 left in the third.
Basiliere’s next TD came as the Scrappers had their backs against the wall at their own six-yardline. Moorer threw a 94-yard scoring strike to Basiliere with 2:09 remaining in the third, and the Scrappers were on top 28-15.
Watson Chapel’s final TD came with 10:22 left in the game on a 31-yard TD pass.
Carmillias Morrisson was the leading rusher for Nashville with 13 carries for 65 net yards. Keyshawn Stewart ran the ball 20 times for 55 yards. Jacobe Jefferson had three carries for 16 yards. Gillard ran the ball one time for 11 yards.
Moorer completed 16 of 28 passes for 248 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions.
Basiliere was the leading receiver with four catches for 146 yards and two touchdowns.
Carpenter had six catches for 58 yards and a touchdown. Gillard recorded four receptions for 43 yards and a TD. Stewart caught the ball once for one yard.
Moorer punted four times for 176 yards, including his longest of 53 yards. He kicked twice inside the 20 and gave up no touchbacks.
Jordan White returned one put for five yards.
Carpenter had three kickoff returns for 76 yards
Quincey Garland had one return for 17 yards.
Davonte Witherspoon led the Scrappers in tackling with eight unassisted. He also had three quarterback sacks and five tackles for losses.
Austin Hanson had seven assisted tackles and one unassisted tackle.
Jordan White posted five unassisted and one assisted tackle, along with a TFL.
Samuel Avalos had five tackles, two sacks and three TFLs.
The Scrappers had 20 first downs to 16 for Watson Chapel.
Nashville had 43 rushes for 144 yards.
The Scrappers converted on five of 13 third-downs. Watson Chapel was four of 11.
Nashville scored twice inside the red zone on four chances. The Wildcats were good on three of five trips to the red zone.
The Scrappers ended the game with 392 yards total offense on 71 plays.
Watson Chapel had 357 total yards on 60 attempts.