McElroy pleased with Elks spring
Going into Thursday’s spring football game, Burleson coach Gary McElroy was pleased with what he had seen from his Elks the past few weeks.
The spring game just gave McElroy and his coaches extra film or players and also afforded numerous Elks one more opportunity to shine.
“For the most part I had seen almost everything I needed to see during workouts,” McElroy said. “It was nice to see them compete one last time and get some guys on film. It was good to see the younger guys compete.”
In the end, the White squad defeated the Red team, 19-14, before a nice crowd at Burleson ISD Stadium.
As they have all spring, running backs Caleb Lewis, a junior-to-be, and sophomore-to-be Jarrett Austin had big games for the Elks.
“They are good,” McElroy said. “They both had a great scrimmage running the ball, catching the ball out of the backfield plus they blocked well. I thought they did very well. Those two guys are going to be a big part of the varsity squad in the fall.”
The duo got a lot of help from an offensive line that has improved by leaps and bounds since the first day of spring workouts, according to McElroy.
“I thought our offensive line came along really well,” McElroy said. “They started out the spring taking baby steps and we were able to feed them a little bit more each day. By the spring game, they were working really well together considering we reshuffled them twice. I think we have a good combination out there of older and younger kids.”
Quarterback Jacob Amador, a senior-to-be, also drew praise from McElroy. Going into the spring game, McElroy wanted to see what Amador could do when the “training wheels” were taken off the offense. The returning signal-caller didn’t disappoint his coach.
“I thought he did a good job in the scrimmage,” McElroy said. “He graded out at 93 or 94 percent.”
Backup quarterback Blake Myers, a junior-to-be, could be a utility player for the Elks in the fall. Myers, who also punts, can also play receiver and running back. He’s a player at McElroy wants to get on the field in hopes of “maximizing his talent.”
With a handful of defensive players missing the spring game because of various injuries, younger Elks got the chance to standout for coaches. McElroy said he was pleased with what he saw on defense.
Casey Young, a junior-to-be, came on strong during spring drills. It was Young’s first time on the field since playing in middle school. Young has played baseball and basketball at Burleson and this spring approached McElroy about coming out for football.
Young quickly became a fixture on the Elks defense and played well in the spring game.
“Casey Young has emerged as a kid we can count on and lean on at outside linebacker,” McElroy said. “He’s going to factor for us at outside linebacker.”
Another standout at outside linebacker is senior-to-be J.C. Mueller, who has been with the varsity for the past two years. McElroy also praised the play of Garrett Lake at nose guard.
With spring drills over the next step for the Elks will playing in a seven-on-seven football league on Tuesday’s in June. The four-team league includes Burleson, Stephenville, Glen Rose and Granbury.
Burleson won’t play in any state seven-on-seven qualifiers. McElroy said the qualifiers are just something the program doesn’t get into.
After that, the next major step for the Elks will an Aug. 24 scrimmage with Birdville at a site to be determined. Burleson is currently slated to open its season Sept. 6 at Denton Braswell. The Elks are still seeking a game for the first week of the season to replace their contest with Fort Worth YMLA, which has ended its football program.
Several former Elks football players who making a name for themselves in college came out to visit during spring workouts and some were at the spring game. Among the players returning were Kenneth Mann (Oklahoma), Kody Russey (Louisiana Tech), Trey Schuman (Rice), Preston Paden (Harding) and Taylor Plaia-Bissell (Harding).
McElroy said he was excited to see so many former players return.
“It is neat for them to know that they can come back and be a part of things still,” McElroy said. “They know they are more than welcome. Plus it’s great for our current kids to see them and get a glimpse at what can transpire if you work hard.”