ALBANY -- This one felt good, felt right -- felt like it arrived just in time.
That's the way Albany's Indians felt after demolishing Class AAA Kendrick, 42-0, in a scrimmage Friday night at Hugh Mills Stadium, where Felton Williams' kids did just about everything right.
Sure, it's just a scrimmage, but that doesn't mean Albany can't feel good about it.
"It feels great,'' said Jontavious Morris. a senior who starts on both lines. "Everybody was just feeding off the energy.''
It was a night for feeding off each other and getting ready for the season opener against city rival Dougherty in two weeks. Albany looked more than ready.
"This just sets the tone,'' said running back Tyuis Smith, who gained 86 yards on six carries and also ran in a two-point conversion.
Then Morris finished his sentence.
"It sets the playoff tone,'' he said.
That's where the Indians, who were much better than their 2-8 record a year ago, want to go, and if a scrimmage can help kick off a playoff season then this one can't hurt.
"It felt great. It's been a long time,'' Williams said. "They won a game they should have won, and they won it in a fashion they should have won it in.''
How far have the Indians come?
Well, last year they battled to a 6-6 tie in a scrimmage against Kendrick. But all those freshmen and sophomores who were forced to start two years ago are now juniors and seniors. Quarterback Emmanul Byrd, a junior who has started since his freshman season, is taller, stronger and more poised in the pocket. It showed Friday.
Byrd finished with 205 yards and threw four touchdown passes to four different receivers (all in the first half), and also ran for a 1-yard TD.
Three of his first four passes went for touchdowns.
"He played like I felt he would play,'' Williams said. "He's where he needs to be right now.''
Byrd hit wide receiver Jeconiah Jackson for a 31-yard TD and found Gerald Jenkinks for a 28-yard TD on Albany's first two drives, and then threw two TDs in the second quarter, tossing a 23-yard touchdown pass to Rantiez Williams and a 17-yarder to Larry Sanford to lift Albany to a 28-0 halftime lead.
Williams, who broke a tackle for a 49-yard catch-and-run play early in the third quarter, finished with two receptions for 72 yards, and he also had a sack on defense.
Albany's defense sacked Kendrick 10 times, including three by Morris and three by Juwon Young. Jenkinks, who had two receptions for 46 yards, also had the rare combo of catching a TD pass and recording a sack.
It was a good night for freshmen, too.
Freshman running back Quentin Sapp broke free for a 20-yard TD run, but the play was wiped out by a holding penalty, and freshman Trawick Kennedy scored on a 25-yard run in the fourth quarter. Freshman kicker Eric Carrillo, who just joined the team on Monday, kicked four extra points.
"We played as a team and got the job done,'' said returning Dynamite Dozen player Roscoe Byrd, who starts on both lines and is the co-captain of the team along with Morris. "We have a new motto: Respect every play. That's what this was about.''
Albany High earned some respect on Friday, and it could be the first step to a breakout season.
"This will give us confidence going into the season,'' Felton Williams said. "But I stressed to them about being humble and staying hungry. But we will go into the season with confidence.''