Argos dodge rain for spring game
by Jay Phillips, Staff Writer
UWF held its annual spring football game on Thursday at Pen Air Field, and the first-team offense won the matchup 6-0.
The first-team offense matched up against the second team defense and vice-versa for the entire game.
UWF originally planned to hold an entire afternoon’s worth of activities for the fans to enjoy before attending the spring game, but a threat of severe weather forced the school to cancel all non-football related activities and to move the game up an hour.
Even with the weather, the Argonauts came out and finished spring practice with a defensive slugfest.
“We had great competition all spring, so I wasn’t too surprised by the outcome,” coach Pete Shinnick said.
Despite the defense, UWF used their spring game to highlight their quarterback competition and to give fans a taste of what their team will look like depending on who starts under center.
Colorado State transfer J.C. Robles was the first quarterback on the field for the Argonauts, and on his first possession, he led the first team offense into the red zone before throwing a pass that was tipped and then intercepted.
UWF’s defense played fast and smart, but Robles also had trouble getting into rhythm due to a minor shoulder injury he sustained in practice. Even with the nagging injury, Shinnick said he believed Robles had locked up the starting job coming out of spring.
Peyton Calhoun led the second team offense for the Argonauts, but the unit couldn’t get past the first-team defense and never scored.
Robles finished the game 14-for-29 for 134 yards and one interception. Calhoun finished 9-for-17 for 93 yards and one interception.
Jervon Newton led the Argonauts in rushing with 81 yards on 17 carries while Tate Lehtio and Kevin Grant both caught three passes for 48 yards and 46 yards, respectively.
Both teams had trouble getting onto the board, but Austin Williams scored the first points of the day with a field goal for Robles and the first team offense.
“I think we did a good job of driving the ball,” Shinnick said. “But the defense was incredibly stingy anytime that we got close. From 30 yards in, our defense played phenomenally.”
A few series later, Williams scored the next, and last, points of the game with another field goal for the first team offense.
Robles wasn’t the only Argonaut injured; he wasn’t even the only quarterback injured.
Another quarterback vying for the starting role is Missouri transfer Evan Johnson, who sat out the spring game while recovering from a concussion.
Adding Johnson back to the equation could make the competition more exciting, and he should see more action once he’s cleared for fall practice.
UWF is also missing Stan Johnson, a big-bodied wide receiver who plans to return and contribute for fall.
Johnson believes missing the spring just adds more fuel to the fire for when he does return.
“It’s all business in college,” Stan Johnson said. “So I have to work even harder to get back to what I was before, and then work even harder to be the person I want to be.”
Both Evan Johnson and Stan Johnson will be back to testing UWF’s defense this fall, and that will be a welcome sight with the turnover UWF’s secondary underwent.
“We lost a lot of guys in the secondary,” Shinnick said. “But the guys who are replacing them have really stepped up. I was pleased with how they played.”
With spring practice over, the Argonauts will have the summer and fall to prepare for their season opener at Carson-Newman on Sept. 5.