The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Maroon team tops White at the 2017 Spring Game

Photo by By Lawrence Smelser

Multiple defenders take down Raheem Boyd.

In the midst of Parent’s Weekend and Aggie Ring Day came another tradition to remind fans why they can’t wait for fall. The annual Texas A&M Spring Game set the Maroon against the White, giving newcomers a chance to showcase their talents.

Kyle Field opened its gates once again to see the Maroon team, headed by junior wide receiver Christian Kirk, take down the White team, headed by senior defensive back Armani Watts, 23-7. The two veterans got a chance to draft and lead their own teams in a competition to be the standout.

“It made it interesting and more of an incentive and motivation to go out there and compete against one another,” Kirk said. “I think it was good for the fans to see that and to see us out there having fun and making plays, so I was really happy with how it went.”

What College Station wanted to know all about was the quarterback situation come September 3. Returning junior Jake Hubenak put up 47 yards and a score while completing 8 for 13. Both freshmen passers Kellen Mond (4-12, 144 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT) and Nick Starkel (10-27, 184 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT) got their chances to shine as well.

“I think [the quarterbacks] played relatively well,” Kirk said. “It was probably one of their best performances that they’ve had during the spring. I think they’ve really settled in. Some of the early scrimmages that we had, they were just getting used to us, with the new wide receivers. They just needed some time settling down with the offensive line and making their reads. Today they kind of put it together. Overall I think Nick, Kellen, and Jake played really well and I’m excited where they’re at this end of the spring and going into the summer.”

Starkel seems to be the front man to be dishing passes to Kirk and company come the fall, but it’s clear the full-time position is still open for hire. The other end of the ball saw more tight ends than normal over the past several years in College Station. Senior Kalvin Cline reeled in three passes for 59 yards while senior Tanner Schorp hauled in two of his own for 13 and sophomore Aaron Hansford scored on two receptions for 46 yards. Kirk hinted that the Aggies may be looking to make a permanent addition to their playbook.

“It’s been exciting to see the tight end group come along,” Kirk said. “They’ve made some huge strides and we’ve got really dynamic guys in that position. Kalvin Cline, Aaron Hansford, and Tanner Schorp, they all bring a different dynamic. Kalvin’s a bigger guy that can run the routes and block, Hansofrd is a leader guy who can get out but he’s strong too. Schorp has the experience and knows what he’s down. So we have a great balance and makes us more effective on offense and take advantage of what the defense is giving us.”

Both Starkel and Mond threw against both defenses who Watts said had good performances despite being plagued by injuries. The Maroon squad was able to come down with two interceptions off tipped passes via Larry Pryor and Roney Elam.

“The linebackers have come a long way,” Watts said. “There’s more guys stepping up. The DB’s were keeping for the ball, being aggressive at points and I’m happy with how they finished plays. [Donovan Wilson] has been a nickel most of the time, but we like having him back there at safety, being versatile. You can tell he had fun and he missed being out there and showing what he can do.”

Ultimately, it’s obvious there was nothing but friendly competition between the two squads today. Watts joked that he didn’t draft poorly, “just poor execution.” The Aggies will head into summer and fall camp before surfacing again September 3 for their season opener against UCLA in Pasadena, California.

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