Spring Game: Blue blanks Gold

Lance Lysowski

Jarvis named team captain

Eugene Jarvis made his first appearance in-front of a Kent State crowd Friday night at Dix Stadium after missing all but two games last season from a lacerated kidney.

The team captain and senior running back played only one drive in the team’s annual Spring Game but showed flashes of the running back Kent State fans saw two years ago.

Jarvis carried the ball six times for nine yards and caught a seven-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Spencer Keith. The points were all the Blue team needed to defeat the Gold team, 14-0.

Jarvis said he was nervous playing in front of a crowd at first, but after the game kicked off, a calm feeling fell over him.

“I’m blessed to be out there,” Jarvis said. “I haven’t been out there in so long, since September. My teammates calmed me down, and after that first carry, it was on to playing football. Sometimes I was a little hesitant and things like that, but after that first hit, it was back to playing football. I haven’t scored all spring. Like they say, you save your best for last.”

During halftime, the Flashes announced their spring awards, where Jarvis was named a team captain for the fourth time in his career. Jarvis was also awarded the Matt Ramser Award for courage and commitment to the team.

Kent State coach Doug Martin said the award, which is named after a former scholarship winner who battled cancer, has a special meaning to the team and Jarvis winning the award made perfect sense.

“That Matt Ramser award is really important to our players because of Vicky and Carl’s loyalty to our program,” Martin said. “For Eugene to win that was very fitting. It was great to see him in the end zone again. He’s an inspiration.”

Keith’s playing time in the annual Blue-Gold game was limited to prevent injury, but the sophomore showed Kent State fans why he’s the team’s starting quarterback.

Keith, who was also named a team captain, completed 7-of-9 passes for 96 yards and a touchdown. Although Keith’s primary target, sophomore receiver Tyshon Goode was playing for the Gold team, he connected with junior wide receiver Sam Kirkland twice on the first drive for 34 yards.

Jarvis said he was impressed watching the Flashes’ starting quarterback’s development last year.

“I’m happy to have a guy next to me like Spencer Keith,” Jarvis said. “Just sitting back last year, watching him play, his poise in the pocket and how he takes command — I admire that about him. I’m definitely excited to see what we can do in the fall.”

While the offense showed explosiveness, the defense held its own Friday. Senior nose tackle Quinton Rainey had four tackles, all for a loss, while junior linebacker Byron Tyson led the Flashes with 4 1/2 tackles.

Rainey said the team’s work ethic and camaraderie helps them succeed.

“We work hard, we always work hard,” Rainey said. “We never try to slack or anything like that. If somebody does try to slack, you have to work it out and pick them up. We just tried to limit mistakes. We’ve really gotten better with communication between us, and knowing what’s coming at us.”

The biggest position battle of the spring is for the backup quarterback job, between junior Giorgio Morgan and freshman Cedric McCloud.

McCloud’s one-yard touchdown run sealed the Blue team’s victory, but Martin said neither quarterback gained an inch on the competition.

“I thought both of those guys had pretty good command,” Martin said. “I think it’s pretty even. I liked what Cedric did when he got the ball down the field. One of those guys is going to have to win a game for us next year.”

While spring drills have come to an end, the team has plenty of work ahead to prepare for the season opener on Sept. 2 against Murray State.

Contact sports reporter Lance Lysowski at [email protected].