McNairl Leads White Team to 6-3 Win In Spring Game
Sunday, April 19, 2009

White Tops Blue, 6-3, In Spring Game

The Tennessee State University Tigers’ coaching staff entered spring drills looking to replace twenty-three seniors, including a stellar quarterback (Antonio Heffner) and running back (Javarris Williams).

Redshirt sophomore quarterback Calvin McNairl, led the TSU White team to a 6-3 win over the TSU Blue team on Saturday, April 18th in the hole at Hale Stadium. McNairl, from Henry County HS, completed 4-of-4 passes for 70 yards and rushed six times for 34 yards to account for 104 yards of the White’s 230 yards in Total Offense. He engineered the only TD of the game, a 2 yard run by Terrance Wright.

McNairl led a group of four signal-callers in the game. Jeremy Perry completed 6-of-13 passes for 58 yards, Dominique Grooms showed a 3-6-1 worksheet for 51 yards and Michael Becker was 0-1 passing while rushing for seven yards.

For the Blue team, Donte Thomas, a redshirt sophomore from Dallas, TX (D.T. White), emerged as the top running back for the game as he rushed nine times for 72 yards, including a 21-yard scamper in the first half. For the White team, redshirt junior, Terrance Wright from Houston, TX (Westside) rushed fourteen times for 55 yards and one TD.

In the kicking game, junior Taylor Cisneros punted for both teams. He punted three times for 128 yards for a 42.7 average, including a long of 55 yards. Freshman placekicker John Lopez was 1-for-2 in FG’s hitting on a 30 yard FG with 1:08 remaining in 1st quarter for the Blue team’s lone score. He missed short on a 42 yard attempt later in the game.

On defense, DB Justin Bather had an interception in the first quarter to stop a White team drive. Linebackers Rodney Fritz, Cornelius Coleman, Lewis Dawson and Josh Killen had solid performances.

The game also featured former TSU players, Maurice Fitzgerald and Nat “Suitcase” Simpson as Honorary coaches. Fitzgerald graduated in 1978 and played professionally with the Philadelphia Eagles and coached Nashville’s Pearl-Cohn High School to back-to-back TSSAA High School Championships(1996 &1997). Simpson graduated in 1975 and played professionally with the Green Bay Packers.

Tennessee State will open the 2009 season on September 5th, hosting Alabama A&M in the John Merritt Classic. The eleven-game schedule will feature HBCU rivals Jackson State (9/12) at the Southern Heritage Classic in Memphis, TN, Southern (9/19) in Baton Rouge, LA and Florida A&M (9/26) at the Atlanta Classic in Atlanta, GA. Homecoming is set for November 7th against Tennessee-Martin.