EWU concludes spring camp with annual Red-White game

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EWU concludes spring camp with annual Red-White game

Senior wide receiver Jayson Williams earned the Red-White game's MVP award after catching four passes for 67 yards and two touchdowns.

Senior wide receiver Jayson Williams earned the Red-White game's MVP award after catching four passes for 67 yards and two touchdowns.

Mckenzie Ford

Senior wide receiver Jayson Williams earned the Red-White game's MVP award after catching four passes for 67 yards and two touchdowns.

Mckenzie Ford

Mckenzie Ford

Senior wide receiver Jayson Williams earned the Red-White game's MVP award after catching four passes for 67 yards and two touchdowns.

By Drew Lawson, Reporter

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Wind gusts as high as 28 mph took center stage in EWU’s annual Red-White game on Saturday, blowing kickoffs, extra points and passes awry.

“The weather gods of Cheney know when it’s Saturday,” EWU head coach Aaron Best said after the game.

The Red team was led by All-American senior center Spencer Blackburn, while the White team was headlined by starting  quarterback Eric Barriere. The Red team came out on top 20-14.

Both offenses got off to slow starts, with the only touchdown of the first half coming from a five yard blocked punt return by sophomore linebacker Chris Lefau for the White team. Barriere’s second pass of the game was broken up and intercepted by freshman safety Hunter Klinge, and the White offense was held scoreless in the first half, while the Red’s offense scored three.

Red was awarded three points for Klinge’s interception based on a turnover rule that Best put in place for the game. Klinge’s interception was the only turnover of the game. Best said that he put the rule in place due to the team’s emphasis on forcing turnovers.

“We had a ton of (turnovers) last year that we caused, (but) we gave up too many,” Best said. “I thought because we put such a precedence on turnovers and causing them and not giving them up. Why wouldn’t we give the defense three points?”

The Red offense got its footing in the second half, with senior wide receiver Jayson Williams hauling in four receptions for 67 yards and two touchdowns. Williams was named the game’s MVP, having scored both of the Red teams’ touchdowns.

Freshman wide receiver Freddie Roberson added 99 all-purpose yards for Red. Williams said after the game that Roberson adds to an already deep wide receiver core that includes himself, juniors Johnny Edwards IV and Talolo Limu-Jones, and sophomore Andrew Boston.

“(Roberson) started playing strong today,” Williams said. “Anybody can make a play in our wide receiver core. We have, I call them the Twin Towers, Talolo (Limu-Jones) and Andrew Boston. You have me, the solid guy in the middle … We have all different taste and potential.”

The White’s lone offensive touchdown came in the fourth quarter, when Barriere found Limu-Jones for a 13 yard score. Barriere finished 12-19 for 157 yards passing, a touchdown and an interception while splitting time under center with freshman Simon Burkett. For the Red, sophomore Gunner Tarkington was 10-17 for 155 yards passing and a touchdown, while freshman Michael Taras was 2-2 for 27 yards and a score.

Defensively, Red controlled the trenches with six sacks and seven tackles for loss. Sophomore lineman Mitchell Johnson led the way with seven tackles and three sacks. Johnson said the defense has matured this spring.

“We look a lot more veteran-like,” Johnson said. “We grew in maturity (and) leadership. The first couple practices, we were lacking in energy. I think we were waiting for someone to step up and take that leadership role, but I think all of us starters on the defense stepped up as vocal leaders.”

EWU now turns its attention to the 2019 regular season, which opens against the reigning PAC-12 Champions the University of Washington on August 31 at Husky Stadium.

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