Football holds annual spring scrimmage

Courtesy of Duquesne Athletics | Members of the Duquesne football team huddle during Saturday’s spring scrimmage at Rooney Field.

Matthew Theodros | Staff Writer

March 30, 2023

The Duquesne football team suited up for its annual spring scrimmage Saturday afternoon at Rooney Field, as friends, family and students came together to watch a duel between the white and blue teams.

Duquesne Head Coach Jerry Schmitt spoke after the game about the importance of holding the scrimmage.

“Made a lot of good strides,” Schmitt said. “Saw a lot of things our guys can do, and what we need to work on moving into the summer.

“I thought we did a really good job coordinating and organizing progression, from the weightlifting to the on-field work. We’ve got to continue working that way. I thought it was a very-positive spring.”

The offense was not the story of this game with defense triumphing for both squads. The game’s lone points came on a field goal from Joey Corado, the white team’s kicker.

One standout was defensive back Malichi Lowery. He forced the lone turnover of the game with a high-flying interception in the first quarter.

“I know the offense, it was a little bit rough, but when you draft teams and you’re working with guys that you haven’t as much through the spring, that’s going to happen,” Schmitt said. “But it was very competitive. I thought the defense did really well. I thought I saw a lot of teamwork plays.”

Another Duke who showed his talents on the field was running back JaMario Clements, who made his mark by using his size to get multiple pickups throughout the game.

Quarterback Darius Perrantes was not able to find many targets in the first half. However, his mobility and foot-work were elite, as he was able to evade defenders to pick up a 10-yard gain, which set up Corado’s field goal.

The game’s second half showcased some noteworthy performances from younger players and new roster additions.

Subbing in for Perrantes on the white team was Jordan Heisey, who put the defense on a platter with phenomenal footwork on a broken play. On a desperation 3rd-and-15, Heisey scrambled for a 20-yard run.

Red zone mishaps and a missed field goal opportunity for the white team gave the blue team a chance to come back.

Quarterback Jalen Morrison continued the trend of explosive runs from the lead playmakers. His foot was on the gas at all times, gaining some chunks of yardage with his feet.

Despite the athletic feats from Morrison, the offense stagnated from this point on for both sides. Empty possessions and a missed field goal kept the blue team off the scoreboard, and helped the white team secure a narrow win.

Schmitt said that, regardless of the outcome, the spring game is an important yearly event, particularly when it comes to attendance from alumni and potential recruits.

“It’s a great day,” Schmitt said. “The weather was kind to us today. Lot of former players, parents [were in attendance]. We had a whole bunch of recruits and their parents.

“They toured the campus this morning, and our facilities. Got to see the Dukes play, and got to see everything that we’re about here on this campus and this beautiful Rooney Field. So I thought it was a very positive day all around.”

As the spring season comes to an end, the focus shifts now toward regular-season preparation. The Dukes will open the season at home against Edinboro on Sept. 2. They’ll also host Northeast Conference foes Central Connecticut on Oct. 14, St. Francis (Pa.) on Oct. 21 and Stonehill on Nov. 11.