BELLEVILLE — The game ended in a 24-24 tie, but Lindenwood-Belleville's spring game was more about showing improvement in the football program's second year than a final score.
"We felt like it was a really good ending to what was a fantastic spring for us,'' Lynx coach Jeff Fisher said "You don't run those spring games like you would any kind of normal game. You have your team split up in different groups. We saw some really good things on both sides of the ball. It was fun to watch."
The Lynx, who posted a 4-6 record in their inaugural season, are no longer a first-year unknown.
"Our kids know that the easy part is over with,'' Fisher said. "There is no 'Who is Lindenwood-Belleville' coming at us anymore. We're just another football team. We're not going to sneak up on anybody.''
Making his return for the Lynx was quarterback Kerry Gibson, who missed six games last year because of a knee injury.
"It changes the offense tremendously,'' Fisher said. "We're able to be an 11-man offense, not a 10-man offense. His ability to run allows us to be an 11-man offense. To get him back and know we're going to have him is really big for us.''
Wide receiver Harvey Binford, who also battled injury last season, showed he's returned to form.
"He caught two touchdowns, one was probably 70 yards and the other was probably 45 yards,'' Fisher said. "He had a heck of a game.''
Fisher said running back Kameron Harris, an Althoff graduate who rushed for 822 yards and 10 touchdowns last year, played well in the spring game.
Fisher said several newcomers stood out, including Kevin Chism, a transfer from Culver-Stockton who has made the switch from wide receiver to cornerback.
He also praised defensive Trey Parker, a Belleville East graduate who transferred from Jackson State, and Joe Wiktorek, a defensive lineman who red-shirted last year.
Fisher liked what he saw from his defense. He feels like that unit has matured after allowing an average of 31 points per game last season.
"We were a young defense that was really working to figure everything out this past fall,'' Fisher said. "I think our defense has grown up a ton. We still gave up a couple of big plays that we can't allow to happen.
"For the most part, kids were flying around and running to the football, guys are getting lined up correctly and communicating with each other. Those are the things that you have to be able to see right now.''
Fisher said Ken Schumer, last year's scout team quarterback, has made great strides.
"Man, you want to talk about a night and day difference,'' Fisher said. "He really did a tremendous job.''
Schumer, from St. Vincent, Mo., was selected as the most improved player on offense during the team's awards banquet Saturday.
Defensive tackle Adrian Ming, from University City, Mo., was the most improved player on defense.
Wide receiver Dylan Bradley was the offensive scout team player of the year, while defensive lineman Sabin Kohut, from Pinckneyville, and outside linebacker Sean Geary, from Hillsboro, Mo., shared the defensive scout team player of the year award.
Fisher said that other than weight lifting and non-mandatory 7-on-7 and captain's practices over the summer, the Lynx are done until training camp opens on Aug. 3.
The Lynx open the 2013 season on Aug. 31 against Culver-Stockton.
Contact reporter Steve Korte at email@example.com or 239-2522.