HARROGATE, Tenn. — Cumberland Gap hosted Pineville in a three-part scrimmage on Tuesday evening and there were a lot of positives for the Panthers, especially in the early going.
The teams first traded ten plays each, starting from the same spot on the practice field. Then they each ran ten red-zone plays from the 10-yard line. The wrapped up the evening with a live scrimmage that included first downs.
Both offenses came out hot and Cumberland Gap’s offensive line established itself right away. They opened holes for fill-in running back Ryker Gent to gain about 25 yards on his first three carries. Then Ethan Ellison used a play fake and found Sam Gulley behind the Lion defense for a long touchdown pass.
The Panthers also converted four of their ten goal-line plays into touchdowns with Gent running one in and Ellison tossing three touchdowns passes.
“I thought we played hard. We came out and started the scrimmage like we needed to, but we kind of tapered off with the intensity later on. I guess that’s kind of the drag of getting out of camp mode and getting into the season,” Cumberland Gap coach Corey Russell said. “We did better on the little things than we did in our last scrimmage. We’ve got some young guys out there and they just can’t get enough of experience like this. We’ve just got to keep working hard and doing what we’re doing.”
Gent broke off first down runs of 13, 3 and 20 yards on Cumberland Gap’s opening drive of the final scrimmage session. The ten-play march ended when Pineville’s Will Adams came up with an interception near the goal line and returned it 30 yards.
Adams capped the Mountain Lions’ own 14-play drive with a 10-yard touchdown run on an end-around.
Cumberland Gap had another good drive going with Gent breaking a long run and Ellison hitting Gulley for gains of 34 and 12 yards but they ultimately turned the ball over on downs.
Gent roughly finished with 104 yards on 15 carries on the day to lead all backs in the scrimmage.
“We’re a little banged up with our depth there at running back. We’ve got one that’s nursing a leg and one that’s nursing an ankle. Ryker did a great job being our workhorse tonight and he also did a good job in pass protection,” Russell said. “We put in a little freshman Keaton Cornett there towards the end. Keaton is going to be a great player for us in the future, he’s fresh out of eighth-grade and he’s not quite strong enough or fast enough yet but you can tell when he runs the ball he’s got natural instincts. It’s just a matter of us bringing him along and getting him where he needs to be.”
Ellison completed six of 13 passes for 136 yards four total touchdowns and one interception. Gulley led Panther receivers with four catches for roughly 112 yards.
“He made a few catches and scored a couple of times, Sam had a great game,” Russell added. “It’s like I tell the guys: it’s nothing special, just doing the little things right. If you’re supposed to run a route, run it the way you’re supposed to. If you’re supposed to get a block, block it the way you’re supposed to. That’s something we preach to the guys about doing the little things right in school, on the football field and everywhere. They’re buying in to it and doing a great job.”
Cumberland Gap hosts Campbell County on Aug. 22 in their regular season opener.