Owls close off-season at Branson camp
The Marshall football team can go into fall practice next week with a little confidence following a positive showing at the Branson full-contact camp last Wednesday and Thursday.
"It went well. We were able to compete," assessed MHS head coach Adam Huse. "And we came out healthy."
The Owls faced mostly larger school, including a pair of state semifinals. West Plains won its first 12 games a year ago before falling to Ladue, 26-0, in the Class 4 semifinals and Harrison got to the same point in the Arkansas 5A playoffs before losing 75-54 to Pulaski Academy.
Marshall also lined up against a pair of Class 5 Missouri schools: Branson and Republic.
Huse liked how his team fared against that opposition compared to previous appearances at the camp.
"We were much improved from the last two years," he noted, "and we played at a much higher level of competition."
One of the highlights of the scrimmages was the play of Marshall's offensive line. Although all-NCMC center-guard Zavion Winn was lost to graduation, there's enough talent and experience back to potentially make it a strong unit.
"We still struggle run-blocking a little, but we're much, much better," Huse said, seeking improvement upon the Owls' anemic 289 rushing yards last year. "We need to block better on the second level. Our pass blocking has gotten a lot better."
Marshall gave up sacks on about 10-percent of the time it dropped back to pass, dropping its net passing yardage to under 2,000 despite the record-setting campaign of quarterback Ben Haug.
Coming off a 3-7 season, the Owls remain a work-in-progress -- although by no means are they expected to return to the 0-10 marks they posted in three of the previous eight years. The players will be back on the practice field Monday and will be in pads two days later.
"The first one or two days we'll go back to basics and fundamentals," Huse said. "We'll start work on the stuff we struggled with at Branson, making things simpler for the guys."
The annual Red and Black scrimmage is set for Aug. 17, followed by the California Jamboree against the host Pintos and Father Tolton Catholic of Columbia on Aug. 23 and opening day at home against Chillicothe on Aug. 30.