Key headlines and performances from Purple/White Spring Game

Junior wide receiver Deante Burton slips up the sideline past junior defensive back Jesse Mack in the first half of the annual Spring game, played this year at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas. (Parker Robb | The Collegian)

Offensive struggles early in the game

The K-State football team saw over 12 minutes tick off the clock before an offensive touchdown was scored — that’s when sophomore running back Charles Jones scampered into the end zone for the purple team.

On the purple team’s first drive, Wildcat junior starter Jesse Ertz threw a pass into the flats on the 29-yard line straight to junior defensive back Jesse Mack, who returned it 35 yards for the games’ first touchdown.

On the next drive, senior receiver Andre Davis couldn’t get a handle on the ball and muffed the punt return, which allowed sophomore receiver Taylor Hilgers to jump on the ball to give the white team their first score.

Junior Deante Burton excels at wideout

Burton’s day started quickly, with his first reception netting a 46-yard reception from junior quarterback Jesse Ertz in the first quarter. The catch set up the purple team with a 21-yard field goal.

“(Burton) made some nice catches, it’s just consistency out of him and guys like him. They’ve been on the field, they understand the system, but you have to do it every snap, one after the other,” K-State head coach Bill Snyder said after the game. “That’s whats held him back, being consistent. He started out great in spring and has finished reasonably well.”

Burton ended the day with four receptions for 107 yards.

Wildcats find explosive returner in freshman Heath

Redshirt freshman returner Dominique Heath stepped up and produced on special teams Saturday, tallying 374 yards in both punt and kick returns. The freshman also brought one punt return back 75 yards for a touchdown.

“The first kickoff return I should’ve took to the house, but I got caught by the kicker, and on one punt return I got caught by the kicker (too),” Heath said after the game. “On the touchdown return, that’s all I was thinking, to make sure I beat the kicker and get on the edge. We blocked for it perfectly, they make it real easy for me.”

Heath’s production started early for the Wildcats with an opening kickoff 59-yard return for the white team.

Freshmen have solid performance

On the offensive side, true-freshman product Alex Delton gained steam as the quarterback for the white team in the second quarter. At times, Delton managed to simply outrun the defense on the way to 71 yards on the ground.

“I’m going into this upcoming season trying to be the best player that I can be, the best teammate that I can be,” Delton said. “Obviously coach (Snyder) has said some nice things about me, but he’s said the same things about any other quarterback that is in the position that I’m in. At this point, I’m just working every day to be the best player that I can be.”

One such play had Delton find a seam in the defense for a 39-yard keeper late in the first half, the second-longest play for the offense aside from the aforementioned Ertz to Burton connection.

The duo of true-freshman running back Dalvin Warmack and fullback Winston Dimel — a Manhattan product and son of offensive coordinator Dana Dimel — also managed to produce for their respective squad.

At fullback, Dimel managed to carry the ball effectively for his team, rushing for 46 yards and two touchdowns. In his debut, Warmack managed to power for 12 yards on six carries, with the highlight of his day coming at the end of the third quarter when he powered into the end zone from the one-yard line.