Tuesday, July 13, 2010

SPORTS>>Quarterbacks strutting stuff on 7-on-7 stage for Jackrabbits

Leader staff writer

Lonoke’s effort to replace quarterback Michael Nelson from last year’s 4A state runner-up team got a shot in the arm when senior Logan Dewhitt returned from a year’s hiatus, and the progress of junior Tarrell Watson over the summer has doubled the dosage.

The Jackrabbits, who lost to Shiloh Christian in last year’s state final, have had successful results in their weekly 7-on-7 league games at Searcy High School. Lonoke went 3-1 last week against a contingent that included Searcy’s varsity and junior varsity squads, as well as Harding Academy and Des Arc.

Dewhitt has looked solid in his return to the team, but has found himself in a competition with Watson.

“It’s open,” Jackrabbits coach Doug Bost said. “With Tarrell, we get a little more speed. There are certain packages where we can use him. We want to get him some playing time when we can.”

Though Dewhitt possesses the strongest arm and has the most experience behind center, Bost said the gap between he and Watson is not as wideas it was when spring practice began.

“We had a team camp last week, and he did everything we asked of him,” Bost said of Watson. “And Logan, we know he has a strong arm. With Logan, we’ve got size, and he has a quick release. He’s about 6-3 and Tarrell is about 6-4, so we know we have two tall quarterbacks.”

While Dewhitt and Watson cling to the top of the quarterback depth chart, Bost said senior receiver Darius Scott has continued to improve out of the Wildcat formation, a set he directed last year as a junior.

“He ran it last year, so it’s nothing new for him,” Bost said. “We’ve got him throwing the ball a little bit now, so it won’t just be running.”

Defensively, Bost said the experience gained by the secondary in 7-on-7 games is invaluable.

With no pass rush involved in the limited-contact game, offenses are allowed to go wide open and put constant pressure on cornerbacks and safeties to chase down receivers.

“We know that with 7-on-7, you get every worse-case scenario possible in situations,” Bost said. “Offenses can go five wide all day, and it’s tough to defend. In an actual game situation, you know there’s going to be linemen up there putting pressure on the quarterback, so they’re not able to send five wide like that all the time.”

The Jackrabbits will wrap up 7-on-7 on Monday. Two-a-days begin the first week of August.