James Ray thought quarterback was one of the least of his worries. Now it’s his biggest.
Bruce’s third-year head coach has lost rising senior Shaunvanta Ingram (pictured above), who quit football to focus on basketball. Ingram averaged 29.8 points per game and was a Daily Journal All-Area first-team pick this past season. He’s better on the hardwood than the gridiron, but he had been making nice progress and was going to make things a little easier for running back Richard Freelon, the reigning Daily Journal Offensive Player of the Year.
Junior D.J. Glaspie and senior Curtis Lyons are vying for the QB spot. Glaspie played free safety last year and was Ingram’s backup, while Lyons was a linebacker and receiver. Ray will get his first look at both when the Trojans open spring practice Monday.
“D.J. throws the ball a little bit better than Curtis, but Curtis runs it better,” Ray said. “I’m not against using both of them.”
Ray compared Lyons to Anthony Armstrong, Bruce’s speedy quarterback two years ago. Lyons showed that speed last season when he returned an interception 99 yards for a touchdown against DeSoto Central.
“I have confidence in either one of these two,” Ray said. “It might set us back some in the spring, but we’ll just rebound and go on.”
In Friday’s Journal, I look at some of the area’s top returning quarterbacks. Here’s a quick peek at the top tailbacks coming back:
• Richard Freelon, Sr., Bruce: The 2007 Daily Journal Offensive Player of the Year rushed for 2,536 yards, 33 TDs.
• Deshaun McGaughy, Jr., Itawamba AHS: As a super soph, he ran for 1,727 yards, 22 TDs.
• Jaquise Cook, Sr., Ripley: Rushed for 1,679 yards, 27 TDs, and that yardage total was second on the team to Michael Poole, who’s departed.
• Gavin Luster, Sr., Walnut: Had 1,191 yards, 12 TDs while teaming up with the now-departed Jacob Sesma. Also had 211 receiving yards.
• Keon McGaughy, Jr., Shannon: Don’t have his stats, but he impressed me every time I saw him. Tough runner who’s not afraid of contact.
I’m trying to gather dates for all the spring football games. Here’s what I’ve got thus far:
May 9: Baldwyn at Ripley
May 9: East Webster at Eupora
May 15: Booneville, Independence at New Albany
May 15: Tupelo at Itawamba AHS
May 15 or 16: Oxford at Southaven
May 16: Bruce at Calhoun City
May 16: Mantachie, Smithville at Mooreville
May 16: New Hope vs. Shannon, Amory vs. Pontotoc, at Pontotoc
May 16: South Panola at Lafayette Co.
May 16: Caledonia at Aberdeen
May 16: Pearl at West Point