There were several questions regarding the Waxahachie offense entering spring practices on April 18 and after four weeks of practice and the annual Green vs. White scrimmage most of those questions remain.
With the graduation of LaDarius Brown and D.C. Collins the Indians lost their top two receivers from a year ago and were thought to have lost Quinn Sargent as well.
Sargent missed some of the spring after making his varsity debut last season as a freshman as it was thought that he was transferring. Instead Sargent is staying in Waxahachie and played in Thursday’s spring game on offense and defense.
Sargent joins Terrance Hawkins, Quin Sargent, Austin Clark, A.J. Rodriguez, Michael Vieal and several others who are fighting for playing time at receiver.
Hawkins is making the transition from running back to receiver this year and had a nice one-handed catch for a touchdown in the spring game.
“Receivers’s been fun. My passion is running back but I will do whatever to help the team,” Hawkins said. “I hope to make a big impact.”
It’s likely the Indians will use a plethora of receivers early in the season until someone steps up to become the go-to guy. Both Hawkins and Quinn Sargent have the size to make up for the graduation of Brown.
“We have a good group of receivers coming back for this upcoming year. These young men will be given every opportunity to have a starting spot next year,” Waxahachie offensive coordinator Joe Volentine said. “We expect our returning lettermen to lead a talented receiver corps who should benefit from having experienced quarterbacks returning.”
Returning at quarterback are Brooks Teeter and Don King III as the two rotated each play last season. Early in spring it looked like the rotation would continue in 2011 but King injured his throwing hand during defensive drills with a week to go in spring practice.
“I was playing defense doing defensive drills and went up to block somebody and it just popped. I fractured a bone in my hand,” King said. “It’s really discouraging because you really want to push for offense but you still have to play defense. It’s even more discouraging because it is my throwing hand. I have three more weeks left in the cast and then I can start throwing. I will be good for the fall.”
Teeter was one of four quarterbacks who played in the spring game on Thursday. He was joined by Christian Brewer, Jake Villarreal and Tyler Stevenson.
It was not a good scrimmage for the signal callers as the Waxahachie quarterbacks combined to complete 16 percent of their passes for 47 yards.
Brewer and Villarreal each threw a touchdown pass but the four quarterbacks threw four interceptions and fumbled the ball three times.
Villarreal led the four with 27 yards passing while Brewer passed for 25 yards. Villarreal and Stevenson are expected to start the season as the junior varsity quarterbacks while King and Teeter are still the first two options on the varsity.
Waxahachie head coach David Ream likes to have three players capable of playing quarterback and Brewer will be used as the third quarterback unless injuries continue to plague the position.
“King’s injury has only caused him to be out for a short time and he will be throwing again in four weeks,” Volentine, a former WHS quarterback, said. “The QB position will be led by the young man who sets forth to pursue our team’s goals. It will be filled by the young man or men who strive for team success and whose play gives us the best opportunity to win games. Decision making and turnover ratio are two areas where we must improve. Teeter and King will have an equal opportunity to develop and demonstrate their skills at quarterback.”
Thursday’s scrimmage was tough on the four quarterbacks on several fronts. The offensive line did not provide enough time to get the ball off on several occasions resulting in seven sacks while the receivers dropped five catchable passes.
“We have two returning starters on the line, Gennard Johnson and Zack Rieper, as well as a few who saw playing time throughout last season and on the JV. This group must make more progress for us to be successful offensively,” Volentine said. “Some seniors who are fighting for playing time are Trevon Ealy, Justin Fox, Bryan Randall, Taylor Almon, Cody Loyd, Canaan Mullinax, James Stencil, R.J. Zavala and Michael Foster.”
Overall the Green and White offenses combined to total 279 yards in the scrimmage with the team rushing for 232 yards.
Waxahachie had six runs of 10 yards or more with Ledarron Crawford’s 50-yard touchdown run being the longest play of the game.
Robert Lowe Jr. rushed for 44 yards on eight carries and had a 21-yard run early in the game and has been one of the players that has performed the best this spring.
“Our running backs, with Lowe and James Onadele leading the way, have had impressive springs,” Volentine said. “We have had several receivers make impressive plays but have lacked the consistency we’re looking for. Lowe has looked strong this spring and his added strength, quickness and experience has us expecting big returns for us this fall.”
Lowe led the offensive charge for the Indians in 2010 with more than 1,000 yards rushing and 19 touchdowns. He said he expects to double that this season as he continues to work hard.
“I think spring went well. We got better as a team, came together and are looking forward to next season,” Lowe said. “Our goals for next season are to win district and make a good run in the playoffs. We have got some players. We have enough players to be good on offense and defense. I look forward to the season next year, I’m excited.”
If the line provides enough protection for the quarterbacks the Indians will have an offensive attack that will force defenses to not focus on the run and allow Lowe to have the big season he is looking for.
“Overall, the offense looks pretty good. We still have areas we need to improve on as far as blocking and getting our receivers to run their routes right. We are still learning the game as we go because we are still kind of young. We will be good by fall,” King said.