C.M. Russell Rustlers offense sparkles in fall scrimmage

C.M. Russell High’s Jesse Johnson, left, and Christopher Spragg (58) tackle running back Erick Dawson during an intrasquad scrimmage Saturday night at Memorial Stadium. / TRIBUNE PHOTO/LARRY BECKNER

In two plays, Eric Dawson covered 65 yards on Saturday night at the C.M. Russell High football scrimmage at Memorial Stadium.

He had a 30-yard catch and followed it with a 35-yard touchdown run.

Head coach Jack Johnson said he was pleased to have Dawson back as an offensive weapon. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound do-it-all junior missed much of last season with an injury.

“He’s a very good football player,” Johnson said. “He’s a heck of a blocker and he runs well and catches the ball really well.”

Dawson was one of many bright spots for the Rustlers, who ran a disciplined and spirited scrum.

“I think it was a successful scrimmage,” Johnson said. “No. 1, we got through there without getting anybody hurt, which is always key in a deal like this, and we got some film of the guys. This is the first time all week that we really had some good film.”

On the second play of the night for the varsity offense, senior rusher Hunter Thomsen (5-11, 180) burst through the line of scrimmage and had a clear path to the end zone, but the referees blew the play dead. The refs were quick to the whistle Saturday to avoid injury, Johnson said.

Thomsen went on to punch in a score from the 9-yard line later in the night.

Junior quarterback Jayse McLean carved the second-string defense for a trio of impressive touchdown passes, including a 25-yard strike to Daekwon Carter, a lob to Jimmy Grinde and a short pass to Dawson. McLean also tucked the ball and ran a handful of times.

“Jayse played well,” Johnson said. “He’s a double threat. He can run. He’s a good athlete.”

Linebackers Will Smith, a senior, and Jakob Jackson, a junior, made several plays on the defensive end. Smith racked up a couple would-be quarterback sacks and Jackson made an acrobatic pass deflection.

Johnson was pleased with the defense, calling it “dominant.”

The Rustlers open the season next Friday on the road against Butte.

“I think we’re ready to go,” Johnson said. “We need a game. We just need to tune some things up next week and stay healthy and be ready to go Friday night.”

Desk: (406) 791-1492

Twitter: @danielmediate

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