Spring Football: Kicker, defense the big stories for Appalachian State
BOONE — A terrific defensive effort and stellar punting and place-kicking by Zach Matics lifted the Black squad to a 12-3 win over the Gold in Appalachian state spring game Saturday afternoon at Kidd Brewer Stadium.
The Black defense surrendered just 180 yards (2.9 yards per play), including a paltry 26 yards on 35 Gold rushes (0.7 yards per carry). The Gold defense was nearly as staunch, allowing just 261 total yards (3.9 per play) and forcing the game’s only two turnovers on a pair of interceptions by sophomore Doug Middleton.
With neither defense yielding much yardage, Matics proved to be the difference in the ballgame. The redshirt freshman not only kicked three of the Black’s four field goals from 48, 27 and 31 yards but also helped his squad win the field-position battle by averaging 42.2 yards per punt.
The squads combined for 17 sacks and 24 tackles for loss, led by 2.5 sacks and 4.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage by Gold defensive end Ronald Blair. Inside linebacker Denzel Ward also had 2.5 sacks to go along with a game-high 10 total tackles for the Gold.
On the Black side, defensive end Deuce Robinson matched the game-high 2.5 sacks and outside linebacker Patrick Blalock (added two. Redshirt freshman defensive lineman Olawale Dada chipped in with seven tackles, including 2.5 for loss and a sack.
Offensively, junior quarterback Logan Hallock completed 22-of-33 passes for 209 yards for the victorious Black squad. His favorite target was sophomore Simms McElfresh, who led all players with eight receptions and 84 receiving yards. Black running back Paul Magloire rushed 15 times for a game-high 57 yards and caught two passes for 19 more yards.
Gold quarterback Kalik Barnes completed 19-of-28 passes without an interception for 154 yards. A crowd of 3,500 braved an unseasonably cool game-time temperature of 47 degrees to witness Appalachian State’s first official spring game since 2005.