Hin­ton steps up as planned for McDe­vitt

Times Chronicle & Public Spirit - - SPORTS - By Matthew Dege­orge mde­ge­orge@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com

UP­PER DARBY » From the Bishop McDe­vitt side­line, Jo­van Hin­ton didn’t get much time Fri­day night to play the role of backup quar­ter­back.

On the first play from scrim­mage against Bon­ner & Pren­der­gast, start­ing sig­nal-caller Lon­nie Rice’s hel­met popped off, forc­ing him to sit a play. Three snaps later, Rice gained the yard he needed on third-and-1 but limped off with a gimpy an­kle.

In stepped Hin­ton to pro­vide re­lief. And by the time Rice’s an­kle was taped and stretched enough to test, Hin­ton gave the McDe­vitt staff no need to risk their starter.

Hin­ton rushed for 91 yards, threw for 102 and ac­counted for both touch­downs in McDe­vitt’s 17-0 Catholic League Blue Di­vi­sion win.

“I’ve just got to keep my cool,” Hin­ton said. “My coaches al­ways talk about next man up, so I’m the next man up. I’m a se­nior. Lon­nie’s my lit­tle brother, but I’ve got to fol­low him. I came in and kept my cool, and I had to ex­e­cute.”

The dy­namic be­tween the two quar­ter­backs isn’t what you might ex­pect. The 6-1 Rice, a ju­nior, looks the part of star QB, which is why he’s un­der cen­ter ahead of the se­nior Hin­ton. Coach Mike Watkins de­ploys pack­ages that uti­lize both of their skills, but the ma­ture Hin­ton has no prob­lem de­fer­ring to the player he calls, “his lit­tle big brother.”

“For Lon­nie, that’s a start­ing player,” de­fen­sive line­man Nasire Grif­fin said. “But I be­lieve in our back­ups and I be­lieve in our team that we can do it. So I was wor­ried a lit­tle bit about my player, but as a team, I thought we were go­ing to do good.”

Hin­ton made plays with his feet and an arm that isn’t typ­i­cal of a backup. He con­verted two fourth downs on his first se­ries, an eight-yard run on fourth-and-3 and a 25-yard wheel route zinged to Jon-Luke Peaker on fourt­hand-12. The 17-play drive cul­mi­nated in an Austin Al­corn 37-yard field goal, but it set the tone, es­pe­cially on the side­lines.

“I’m the one that’s yelling at the kids, ‘C’mon, get it up, clap it up for your team,’” said Grif­fin, the un­of­fi­cial side­line hype man. “So it was a lit­tle ex­cit­ing for us.”

Hin­ton was 8-for-15 through the air for 102 yards, in­clud­ing a 28-yard post pat­tern score to Jor­dan Drew in the sec­ond quar­ter.

In the third, Hin­ton made three straight plays to seal the game. He con­nected with Quamir Reynolds for six yards on fourth-and-5, then ran for 27, some­how emerg­ing from a crowd of tack­lers with­out his mo­men­tum stopped. He fin­ished the drive with a one-yard dive to give McDe­vitt (4-1, 2-0) a

17-0 lead.

Hin­ton’s big plays punc­tured the oth­er­wise steely re­solve of the Bon­ner & Prendie de­fense. With­out cap­tain David MacMullen and highly touted se­nior de­fen­sive end Rushawn Lawrence due to in­juries, the Fri­ars per­se­vered, lim­it­ing the dan­ger­ous Peaker to 88 yards on 17 car­ries. But they couldn’t get off the field, with the Lancers con­vert­ing four fourth downs.

“At prac­tice, we just work,” said sopho­more line­backer Nasiim Rhodes-Nel­son. “We watch film. We knew what they were go­ing to do. We knew they were go­ing to hit us with the quick routes and the deep balls. We were ready for it, but we’re go­ing to do bet­ter next week.”

On the of­fen­sive end, Bon­ner (2-3, 0-2) couldn’t get un­tracked. They ran just 16 plays from scrim­mage in the first half and fin­ished with as many punts as first downs (six). Kyle Lazer was 7-for-14 for 77 yards, but he was picked off by Akrie Lil­ley at the 10 in the fourth to cul­mi­nate the Fri­ars’ most promis­ing drive.

Bon­ner only rushed for 51 yards. Save for a cou­ple of long pass­ing plays — a 27-yard hookup be­tween Lazer and James Welde, then a 21-yarder to Charles In­gram — the Fri­ars made lit­tle head­way against a McDe­vitt de­fense that Grif­fin trum­pets as the best in the Catholic League.

“The type of de­fense that we run up front as the d-line, it’s speed and strength,” Grif­fin said. “… That’s what we do. We try not to talk a lot, we let them talk and we do our job.”

Judg­ing by the seam­less tran­si­tion of quar­ter­backs, team con­ti­nu­ity seems a big part of the McDe­vitt ethos, too.

“They see the backup quar­ter­back ballin’, so it’s only right,” Hin­ton said. “They ball, too.”

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