Chillicothe (Mo.) HS grid Hornets scrimmage at Moberly Aug. 20

Paul Sturm
Chillicothe News
New 2021 Chillicothe HS football Hornets head coach Chad Smith looks on from the right background as the CHS offensive unit lines up for a plan against Hallsville during the first segment of Friday, Aug. 20, "jamboree" scrimmages at Moberly. A long-time assistant at CHS and, prior to that, Hamilton and Carrollton, this is Smith's first gridiron head coaching post.

One week prior to their season opener with the Marshall Owls, the 2021 Chillicothe High School football Hornets, under new head coach Chad Smith, got their first taste of lining up against an opposing team Friday, Aug. 20, at Moberly High School's Larry K. Noel Stadium when they had controlled scrimmages against Hallsville and Centralia.

Senior linebacker Brock Ward of  the 2021 Chillicothe HS football Hornets, who mossed virtually the entire 2020 season with a collarbone fracture, shows no hesitancy in driving his shoulder into a Hallsville ballcarrier and stopping him during one of the Friday, Aug. 20, "jamboree" scrimmages at Moberly.
Having evaded his blocker, junior defensive end Lucas Reynolds of the 2021 Chillicothe HS football Hornets snags the leg of a Hallsville Indian ballcarrier at the line of scrimmage and holds on until teammates arrive to help during Friday, Aug. 20, "jamboree" scrimmages at Moberly.

Playing defense first against Hallsville, Chillicothe surrendered touchdowns – two passing and one running – on each of the three completed Indians series of downs.

The line having created an initial hole inside, fullback Damarcus Kelow, a 1,300-yards rusher as a junior in 2020, picks up a second-level block from end Brock Ward that springs him for a 36-yards scoring run on the 2021 Chillicothe HS football Hornets' second offensive play against Hallsville in Friday, Aug. 20, "jamboree" scrimmages at Moberly.
Junior Bryce Dominique of the 2021 Chillicothe HS football Hornets follows guard Priest Bosley's block on his way to scoring on a 2-yards inside run for the third of four CHS touchdowns against Hallsville during Friday, Aug. 20, "jamboree" scrimmages at Moberly. Dominique also skirted left end for another touchdown on the final play of the segment against Hallsville.

Switching to offense, CHS scored on all four of its series. A 36-yards inside run by senior fullback Damarcus Kelow on its second play put up the first TD. Chillicothe scored in six plays on its second series – junior Brock Miller's 2-yards run inside putting the ball in the end zone. Junior Bryce Dominique followed about a 20-yards outsdie run by freshman Silas Midgyett with a 2-yards TD run before, with only the last two of the 18 offensive snaps remaining, the Hornets used a Hallsville defensive penalty to get an "extra" play from the 16. A toss sweep to Dominique sprung him to the offensive left perimeter, where he out-ran defenders to the front corner for a final Chillicothe score of that scrimmage.

Receiving just enough pass protection from the offensive line, senior quarterback Gage Leamer of the 2021 Chillicothe HS football Hornets strides into a pass he'd complete vs. Hallsville in the first of two sessions of Friday, Aug. 20, "jamboree" scrimmages at Moberly.
Senior Braxten Johnson of the 2021 Chillicothe HS football Hornets is brought down by a Hallsville Indian after a nice game on a mid-range pass reception during the Friday, Aug. 20, "jamboree" scrimmages at Moberly. A starter at split end on offense last year and the team's top pass catcher, Johnson will used both as a running back and wide receiver this season.

Against Centralia, the Hornets played offense first and scored twice – on a 19-yards pass to junior running back Corbin Rodenberg from senior returning-starting quarterback Gage Leamer and on another Dominique left-side run that covered nine yards.

2021 Chillicothe HS football Hornets senior quarterback Gage Leamer unleashes a 19-yards touchdown pass caught by Corbin Rodenberg during the team's segment against Centralia as part of the Friday, Aug. 20, "jamboree" scrimmages at Moberly.
Running back Corbin Rodenberg of the 2021 Chillicothe HS football Hornets catches a 19-yards touchdown pass against Centralia as teammate Brock Ward looks on during Friday, Aug. 20, "jamboree" scrimmages at Moberly.
The 2021 Chillicothe HS football Hornets offense set to snap the ball vs. Centralia during Friday, Aug. 20, "jamboree" scrimmages at Moberly.

When Centralia got the ball, after three nearly-fruitless plays, a fourth-and-9 run caught the Hornets by surprise and produced a 39-yards scoring run.

Chillicothe then came away with two turnovers, both on Centralia giveaways more than Hornets takeaways. A pass down the middle slipped right through the would-be receiver's hands and went right to senior safety Braxten Johnson for an interception.

Senior linebacker Brock Ward of  the 2021 Chillicothe HS football Hornets, who mossed virtually the entire 2020 season with a collarbone fracture, shows no hesitancy in driving his shoulder into a Centralia ballcarrier and stopping him during one of the Friday, Aug. 20, "jamboree" scrimmages at Moberly.

A few plays later, an intended swing pass to a running back leaking out of the backfield to the right was slightly behind the intended target, who could not catch it and stopped as the ball bounced away. The referee ruled the ball had been thrown either laterally or backward, either way making the ball still "live" as a fumble. Hornets sophomore cornerback Javon Kille, around coming up in reaction to the flare pass, scooped up the ball in a position where, in a normal game, he'd have been able to run his recovery back unimpeded  for a touchdown.

Starting a new set of downs, a Centralia ballcarrier turned an off-tackle stretch play into a 40-yards touchdown run on the first play. The Panthers then put together a series of plays that got the ball to the 1-yard line. There, with still a few snaps left, Centralia scored a third time when a short pass went off a well-positioned Chillicothe defender's hands right into those of the intended reciver.

Thus, overall on the evening, in two offensive possessions (36 plays), Chillicothe scored six times with two turnovers and one time being stopped on downs, while, on defense, it allowed six TDs, came up with two turnovers, and had two holds on downs.