White beats Red 21-7, as YSU wraps up spring practice

Staff photo / Neel Madhavan. YSU running back Ethan Wright, a transfer from Cincinnati, breaks free for a 36-yard carry during the Penguins' Red-White Spring Game on Saturday at Stambaugh Stadium.

YOUNGSTOWN — After 14 practices over the course of the past month, Youngstown State wrapped up spring football with the annual Red-White Game on Saturday.

Led primarily by the first-team offense, the White Team upended the Red Team 21-7 at Stambaugh Stadium.

“We split the teams up and to be able to do that — I mean, years ago we weren’t able to do that,” head coach Doug Phillips said. “Now we have the depth on the offensive and defensive line — just tells you where we’ve grown. Now I gotta go back (and look at the film). We wanted fundamentals, technique, no pre-snap or post-snap penalties and we wanted to take care of the football. We made some mistakes in those areas, and we gotta continue to get better there.”

The White Team consisted of predominantly first-team offense and a mixture of first- and second-team defense, while the Red Team looked to be made up mostly of second-team offense with a mix of first- and second-team defense.

YSU played two regular 15-minute quarters for the first half, then after a short halftime break, the Penguins played the second half with a 30-minute running clock.

Both teams ended up punting on their opening offensive possessions, but the White Team struck first right after its first drive.

A White Team punt was muffed by the Red Team at its own 40-yard line and recovered by the White Team. After Cincinnati transfer tailback Ethan Wright rattled off a 36-yard carry, senior running back Tyshon King punched in the first touchdown of the game from four yards out to give the White Team the early 7-0 lead.

The White Team struck again with 4:55 to go in the second quarter, as sophomore running back Stephan Byrd plowed into the end zone from about three yards. The score capped off a 61-yard drive from quarterback Beau Brungard.

New quarterback Brady Shannon helped give the Red Team two chances to score in the first half, but the Red Team missed two field goals, one from 57 yards and the other from 32 yards as the wind wreaked havoc.

In the second half, Max Blanc and Bryce Schondelmyer got their chances to command the offense.

On the White Team’s first drive after the “halftime” break, Blanc hit Joey Farthing in the corner of the end zone for a 30-yard touchdown strike to finish off a 51-yard drive.

The Red Team finally got on the board on the next drive, as Schondelmyer found junior Luke Hensley for a 24-yard touchdown completion.

Both Brungard and Shannon oftentimes utilized their legs to combat the gusty conditions. Shannon led all rushers with 10 carries for 52 yards.

But Brungard showed why he was taking snaps with the first-team offense, especially with his experience getting in-game snaps last season as Mitch Davidson’s backup. Brungard completed 9-of-17 of his passes for 89 yards. Shannon finished 4-for-11 for 10 yards.

“We had a lot of expectations coming in (to spring) for what we wanted to get done, and I think we did,” Brungard said. “We’re still not there yet. We’re going to keep striving to get to where we need to be. But we got a lot done and we’re in a better place than when we started.”

Then in the second half, Blanc and Schondelmyer each were 5-for-7 with a touchdown pass, with Blanc throwing for 39 yards and Schondelmyer throwing for 58 yards.

“They adjusted to the wind. Sometimes they may have felt a little more comfortable running with their legs, and they can run with their legs,” Phillips said. “But in the second half, we know in the Ice Castle that the wind is going to diminish as the day goes, and we were able to make some good throws. With our quarterback room, I feel good about it. For us, it’s about having a guy ready who can go through 12 games, no matter who that person is. Can you take the field and win football games?”

For Shannon, it was his first live football action he’s seen in almost two years since his high school senior season at Ursuline. Shannon played baseball his freshman year at UCF, before transferring to YSU in the fall.

“He took some hits, but he’s strong,” Phillips said. “He can run, and he can throw — everything’s just coming along when you haven’t played football for two years. There’s a lot of things that go into a snap — getting the play call, making sure they’re lined up, looking at the play clock, knowing the protection is right, the secondary and what coverage they’re playing, where do I deliver the ball — so those are all things I’ve seen huge improvements in throughout spring.”

The Penguins will now break for a couple months and won’t practice together as a team again until they report for the start of fall camp at the end of July.

“It’s all about building depth, and I think we have, and we’ve gotta continue. We’re not there yet — it’s a journey,” Phillips said. “We gotta get bigger, get stronger, get on a great meal plan. They gotta take care of their bodies. I want our coaches to sit down the next two weeks and develop an individual plan of things (the players) need to do to be the best versions of themselves come the end of July when we report for camp.”

Have an interesting story? Contact Neel Madhavan by email at nmadhavan@tribtoday.com. Follow him on X, formerly Twitter, @NeelMadhavan.


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