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With Josh Jaggers now at the helm of LaRue County High School football, it will be a brand new system that will greet Hawks fans this season, but one that sticks to football fundamentals.
Jaggers wants to run a hybrid-spread offense this season. The team has multiple players who can play multiple positions on each side of the ball, which brings even more versatility to the field.
Position by position, here is what LaRue is looking at for the upcoming season:
After a couple of weeks of practice and evaluation, Jaggers has chosen senior Gabe Shirley to be the Hawks’ starting quarterback this season.
“He’s got ‘it’ right now,” Jaggers said of Shirley. “He’s throwing a great ball and he wouldn’t have played running back last year if he didn’t have those skills too. He’s the kind of kid who if he doesn’t understand something, he wants to stay after practice and talk.”
Shirley’s backups will be sophomore Koy Lindsey, junior Keegan Kirkpatrick and senior Caleb Canter.
Those guys will be throwing the ball to a committee of wide receivers, including Austin Hinton, Austin Goldsmith, Kendrick Greenwell, Mike Neal and Kelton Ford.
Ford, who has played basketball through high school, will be getting back to football after a two-year hiatus.
Hinton and Goldsmith are two of the receivers who are more traditional tight ends, and they will see time at that position as well.
Running back is another position where a good number of guys will receive playing time – Dalton Lawson, Canter, Austin McDowell, Matthew Hornback, Marquis Franklin and Demarcus McCray will all get carries this season, according to Jaggers.
“You hear the term ‘running back by committee’ thrown around, but this year is the truest definition of that I’ve ever been around,” Jaggers said. “We could have five or six guys with five or six carries each in a game. It’s so interchangeable because we have six guys equally capable of carrying the ball.”
Junior Zeke Phelps will be LaRue’s center, but also can play guard if needed. Other guys on the line (both offense and defense) include Nathan Bell, Matt Stiles, BJ Carman and Terrell Paysen.
“Terrell is the most athletic defensive lineman that I have coached in eight years,” Jaggers said. “The line is the same concept as running back – the guys are interchangeable because everyone can play two spots.”
In the 3-4 defense LaRue plans on running this year, Michael Franklin will be the main nose guard. At linebacker, there will be Cole Hughes, Phelps, McCray, Franklin and Lindsey.
Defensive back is another position where a rotation of players will see time this season. Shirley will play DB, as well as McDowell, Lawson, Canter, Greenwell and Franklin.
“We’re low on varsity numbers, so everyone’s got to play a couple positions, but that’s football at a rural county school,” Jaggers said. “We’re going to mix old-school principles with the new this season. The kids are having fun with it and it looks good in practice.”