The Cleburne football team wrapped up spring practice Wednesday night at Yellow Jacket Stadium with a spring scrimmage in front of an excited crowd.

After 17 days of spring practice, the coaching staff was able to assess the strides players made in game situations.

“It was fun watching these kids compete,” Cleburne head coach Phil Young said. “We were having fun coaching and the greatest thing is no one came out of this thing injured. That’s always what we pray for the morning of the spring scrimmage is no injuries.”

Justin Gauntt, a returning defensive standout from last season, made one of the hardest hits of the afternoon and was recognized by the coaching staff after the scrimmage.

Upperclassmen donned black jerseys for the scrimmage, while this year’s freshman group wore white uniforms.

“Our black shirts were flying around making big hits,” Young said. “They were physical and aggressive. The white shirts really impressed me. We had a lot of kids we brought up. You saw them playing against the black shirts and they weren’t scared at all. Those freshman boys give us a lot of hope for the future. We’ll see how bad we want it the rest of the summer.

“I remember seeing a lot of popping — a lot of guys hitting their backs,” Young said. “The defense is playing with a lot of speed. That’s the thing you want to see. The defense playing sideline to sideline, no assignments, playing with a lot of speed and wrapping up.”

The coaches scripted the first 30 plays of the offensive system used in the scrimmage and Young said the unit is about “300 times further along than we were two years ago.”

But Young said the Jackets have a lot of work to do on both sides of the ball before the regular season begins.

“I think we’re a little ahead,” Young said. “We’ve got a long way to go. Our philosophy with a quarterback is I’ll give up a little arm strength for speed. I’d like our quarterbacks to be active and run with the ball. Plus, our guys can throw. That’s nice that they can throw it.”

He also came away from the scrimmage with several potential go-to receivers.

“We’ve got about seven receivers that can really go,” Young said. “One of them, Trace Turner, is a straight running stud and was a starter last year, wasn’t even out there all spring.

“We’ve got one of our better receivers standing over there with me.”

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