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Sun, Apr. 28, 2013 - [Football]

Story courtesy of Bob Davidson, Salina Journal

There were times when the Kansas Wesleyan Coyotes looked pretty good during their spring football scrimmage Saturday morning at Salina Stadium.

There also were times when it was apparent there's a lot of work to do before the season opener Sept. 7 on the road against perennial power Hastings College (Neb.).

In other words, it was a typical spring showing.

A squad of 59 Coyotes were on display for about 90 minutes — the numbers thinned considerably by injuries incurred during the previous 14 practice sessions. The scrimmage ended in a 57-57 tie after Taylor Sachs scored from the 2-yard line on the final play and backup quarterback Sam Vaughn hit Lee Stewart with a two-point conversion.

Points were awarded for touchdowns, field goals, first downs, defensive stops, interceptions and sacks.

"I think we made some progression," coach Dave Dallas said. "I think our defense got better throughout the spring. I was pleased. I think we made improvement as a whole team throughout the spring."

Vaughn and starter Trey Dallas' performances epitomized the day. Dallas, who will be a senior, threw touchdown passes of 38 yards to Joe Dooley and 9 yards to Blaine Ruiz but also had two passes intercepted. Vaughn was also picked off twice.

The offense was missing split end Zach McClain, last year's second-leading receiver who was out with a shoulder injury.

"That's the first time with coach (Bob) Saunders (new offensive coordinator) upstairs calling plays," Dallas said. "There was that rhythm you deal with and the changes. But I'm not displeased with our offense. We dug down and rallied back a little bit.

"I think some individual guys made some improvement, and some of our younger guys got better."

Trey Dallas was generally pleased with the effort.

"It was a pretty good day, I thought we got after it," he said. "I started off kind of slow, kind of struggled. It was hard not having Zach out there.

This game really didn't do justice to how much we've improved as an offense."

Trey Dallas said the transition to Saunders has been easy.

"Coach Saunders has basically expanded the playbook we already have," he said. "Everyone is real familiar with all the plays, we didn't change any of that stuff. The verbiage is all the same. We added just a few new things. We want to keep the defense guessing, you won't see too many of same pass plays."

One bright spot offensively was running back Taylor Sachs, who's replacing Brett Giesen — the KCAC's leading rusher last season. Sachs played safety last fall but showed good speed, power and balance Saturday.

"He's a downhill, one-cut guy," Dave Dallas said of Sachs. "And he's strong."

Wesleyan's defense, which ranked ninth in the Kansas Conference in yardage allowed last season, played reasonably well Saturday. The Coyotes were able to pressure the quarterbacks in addition to the four interceptions.

"Defensively, I thought we had a heck of a day," said linebacker Brady Harwell, the leading tackler on last year's squad. "Offensively, they got us here and there but overall it was a great spring. We really came together as a team."

Harwell offered a word of caution, though.

"As good of a day as it was, it can always be better," he said with a smile.

While Dave Dallas was pleased overall, he said there's plenty of work do before the first game.

"I think we need more consistency from the offense," he said. "That comes with getting your personnel established. Defensively, I think we can be better from a physical aspect."

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