Dif­fer­ence mak­ers

Quar­ter­backs charge ahead for surg­ing pro­grams

The Covington News - - Sports - By Josh Briggs

What a dif­fer­ence a year makes. This time last year, the three foot­ball pro­grams in New­ton County had a com­bined 6-15 record. So far in 2008, the teams are 10-6. So what gives? Like ev­ery foot­ball team, high school, col­lege or pro, the quar­ter­back po­si­tion is the key to a team’s suc­cess.

New­ton suf­fered through a dis­mal year in 2007, one that saw the Rams turn to sev­eral quar­ter­backs. Af­ter a 1-9 sea­son, head coach Nick Collins came into 2008 with re­newed op­ti­mism, but with sev­eral ques­tions, es­pe­cially on of­fense. Af­ter strug­gling in their opener against Al­covy, the Rams turned to Demetrius McCray and the move has paid off.

“He’s a great ath­lete,” said East­side coach Rick Hurst af­ter McCray al­most sin­gle hand­edly de­feated his Ea­gles last month. “I bet Nick is wish­ing he went with him ear­lier in the year.”

Hurst was right on. Collins said he wishes he could re­play the Al­covy game with McCray as his quar­ter­back but re­al­is­ti­cally, he ad­mits the 3-0 loss to the Tigers was more about his team’s in­abil- ity to cap­i­tal­ize on its op­por­tu­ni­ties than the play of then starter Tyree Wil­liams.

“We had so many chances against them and we just didn’t cap­i­tal­ize,” Collins said.

Collins in­serted McCray at quar­ter­back in New­ton’s fol­low­ing game against McIn­tosh and the se­nior re­sponded as he led the Rams to a 22-15 win. Even more telling is how McCray’s ath­leti­cism has changed New­ton’s ap­proach. Collins, who read­ily ad­mits he is not a fan of the op­tion, drew up a game plan

Keys to suc­cess:

An­thony Banks/The Cov­ing­ton News

Demetrius McCray (left), Rod Tolen (cen­ter) and Justin Wray (right) have helped turn their re­spec­tive pro­grams into con­tenders.

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