Friday, May 26, 2017

SPORTS STORY >> Titans searching for quarterbacks

Leader sports editor

Jacksonville football got about 45 to 50 players out to spring practice the last few weeks. The number is in line with recent years, but disappointing compared to the number of students that participated in the offseason. Coach Barry Hickingbotham said about 73 total took part in the offseason program.

The upside is, the ones who remained are a hard-working group.

“I’ve got guys left that are competing and working extremely hard,” said Hickingbotham. “We’re replacing a whole lot and have a lot of things to figure out, but the guys are working hard to get there.”

Quarterback Harderrious Martin and running back Shawn Ellis are the two key offensive players coming back. Martin, however, is likely to share a lot of time under center as coaches work on other creative ways to involve the team’s most dynamic athlete in the offense.

Juniors Trey Newsome and Shavarious Curley, and sophomore Ardarius Haynes are competing for the backup quarterback position. Haynes was the starter for the Titan freshmen team last year.

Jacksonville played an unadvertised spring scrimmage last Friday. Hickingbotham says the results were mixed, about what he expected at this early stage.

“There were some good plays and some bad ones,” Hickingbotham said. “What I like about my guys competing for quarterback is that they’re trying hard to learn. Of course we’d start HD (Martin) if we had to play tomorrow. None of the other guys have separated themselves at this point, but I like the effort of all of them.”

Hickingbotham has a busier summer scheduled for the team this year. The team will be competing in 7-on-7 tournaments at Atkins and UA-Monticello, as well as hosting its own. That’s on top of a few full-contact team camps coaches are planning on attending.

“We’re going to keep working,” Hickingbotham said.

The JHS 7-on-7 tournament is scheduled for June 13 at Jan Crow Stadium.

More details will be forthcoming.