Good grabbing hands coming back
Mississippi high school football has become synonymous with a power running game and a defensive mindset.
Some Lincoln County schools, however, have a plethora of returning receivers in 2018 that will give them a number of options in the passing game to keep linebackers and the front seven honest.
The Panthers relied heavily on rushing the football last season, but they had weapons outside in Don Blandon and John Hilbert who could attack teams in the passing game.
Hilbert had a strong 2017 season as a junior. He had 31 catches for 525 yards and nine touchdowns on the year.
In 2017 Blandon had 29 catches for 391 yards and five touchdowns through the air.
With an offensive line coming in that doesn’t have a ton of experience, the Panthers will need their skill players to perform well in the early part of the season to let the offensive line catch up.
“That’s what we have to be looking at,” Brookhaven head football coach Tucker Peavey said. “We have to have our skill players play well. The offensive line is going to improve over the year, but in the early portion of the season, we need them to play well to let them get adjusted.”
If Brookhaven Academy head coach Ron Rushing wants to throw the ball up and let someone go make a play, he’ll have an experienced option there in senior Cade Brown.
In 2017 Brown was dynamic for the Cougars, catching 67 passes on the season for 1,103 yards and 14 touchdowns, leading Brookhaven Academy to the playoffs.
“He’s our guy that we’re going to trust when we make plays through the passing game,” Rushing said. “That’s somebody that Dawson (Flowers) can rely on in the passing game, too. He’s as reliable as they come, and we’re going to need him this season.”
The Bobcats have some experience returning for the 2018 season at the quarterback position in Shaw King, and he’ll have options in the passing game to target with experience.
Zach Upkins had a strong season for the Bobcats last season, catching 27 passes for 364 yards and five touchdowns on the year.
“He’s a really strong player,” Bobcat head coach Gareth Sartin said of Upkins. “He was really good last year, and he has the potential to be a very good player for us this season.”
In 2017 in the receiving department, Malik Richardson had 24 catches for 263 yards for the Bobcats.