Things that caught my eye at the Spartanfest 08 scrimmage tonight at Smithfield-Selma High School. Host SSS welcomed West Johnston, Fuquay-Varina, Middle Creek, Durham Hillside, Southern Durham and Northern Durham for the event. ...
The host Spartans under the direction of Anthony Barbour forced several turnovers on defense. The secondary notched four interceptions that I saw and had a solid hit to force a fumble as well. North Carolina recruits Justin Dixon and D.J. Bunn spent most of their time on the field on the defensive side of the ball. Dixon, looked more physically imposing than ever at the middle linebacker spot, and Bunn's play at safety highlighted an improved group effort by the SSS DBs.
Dixon, who plays fullback on offense, and Bunn, a wing back, both showed flashes on offense with a pair of solid runs but didn't see much time on that side of the ball.
West Johnston, which debuts under new head coach Bennett Jones next week against Athens Drive, showed some flash on offense. Mallie Umphrey had a nice TD run against Northern Durham.
Durham Hillside looked solid on offense. Duke recruit Desmond Scott lined up both at running back and receiver.
I didn't see enough of Middle Creek, Fuquay-Varina or Northern Durham to make any grand judgements. No slight against them, the scrimmages I was watching just didn't line up where I saw much of those teams.
The team that left the biggest impression on me was a 2007 state semifinalist — the Spartans of Southern Durham. Southern, which fell to eventual state champion Wilmington Hoggard in the eastern 4-A championship last December, just seemed to be playing in a different gear, especially on defensive side. Now Southern's offense looked solid too but the Spartans had great defensive pursuit on nearly every play.