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Lancers tune up for opener in scrimmage with Tokay
East Union High quarterback TeeJay Gordon sheds a tackler with a forearm during the Lancers’ scrimmage against visiting Tokay Friday. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO
It had been a while since East Union’s varsity football players got to hit others from another team.

That opportunity came Friday when they hosted a one-on-one scrimmage with Tokay of Lodi.

It was just about everything you’d expect out of a scrimmage — some good, some bad — but head coach Mike James was most pleased about one thing.

“We’re coming away from this with all of the kids healthy, so that was good,” he said. “There were some things that I really liked, and there were things that I saw that we needed to really work on. That was what tonight was for.”

East Union was one of four area schools to not play a zero-week game Friday.

Manteca, after hosting its own three-team jamboree last week, was at West High in Tracy Friday to face the Wolf Pack and Deer Valley out of Antioch. Lathrop was a part of a four-team jamboree that included Benicia and Liberty Ranch (Galt) at Dublin.

East Union held an intrasquad scrimmage on Aug. 21, but the last time the Lancers went to go toe-to-toe with somebody else was July 14 during a four-team camp at Stagg High in Stockton.

The rust was evident, especially on defense. It didn’t take Tokay long to strike when it took its turn on the attack. The Tigers were able to rip off big gains with their passing game and scored on 48-, 56-, 62- and 50-yard plays through the air. Two of them were off screen passes.

“As far as team defense, we didn’t get done what we had to get done,” James said. “I want to really look at the film and see where the breakdowns were. Tokay did a really good job running the mid-line option, and this early in the season we weren’t ready for that.”

East Union had more promising moments on offense despite not scoring.

Quarterback TeeJay Gordon, operating under a newly-installed spread offense, was great at turning nothing into something with his scrambling ability. His passing was fine for the most part, though several attempts were dropped.

There was one drive in particular that Gordon shined.  He moved the chains with a 15-yard jaunt up the middle, and three plays later he completed a nice 10-yard pass for another set of downs. The drive ended with an interception, but James was otherwise happy with the offense.

“Did the kids know what to do? Yes. Did the kids understand the plays? Yes.  The concept they are picking up very well, now we have to take it to the next step and produce,” James said. “I really liked what I saw out of the offensive line. They answered a lot of question marks that we had going in.”

East Union’s season kicks off next Friday, Sept. 3 at Modesto Junior College against Beyer.