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PREP FOOTBALL: New quarterbacks get a brief introduction to offenses (7/2)

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By Chuck Jones

By CHUCK JONES cjones@thenewsenterprise.com ELIZABETHTOWN – The beginning of high school football practice is more than a week away, but several incoming quarterbacks have been able to get a jumpstart on the season. Elizabethtown, LaRue County and Meade County all will be breaking in new quarterbacks, while North Hardin and Fort Knox both are implementing new offenses – spread schemes – this season. In the month of June, area teams participated in different 7-on-7 passing leagues, giving quarterbacks a brief introduction of what it’s like to run a high school offense. “It’s good for our passing game,” said Meade County junior Tyler Mattingly, who will likely replace three-year starter J.L. Cannady at quarterback. “We don’t get to work on our run game, which is our thing, but it’s still good. We’re doing what we can do. I’m trying to do as much as I can to learn during this time.” Like Mattingly, Elizabethtown senior Micheal Thomas is stepping in for a three-year starter – Morehead State-bound quarterback J.D. Tanner. While Mattingly’s Green Wave team is predominantly a running team, Thomas will be in charge of Elizabethtown’s pass-happy spread offense. “I’ve actually got a lot out of it,” Thomas said. “It’s very beneficial. It allows you to see a lot of different defenses and you can see what you may do in certain situations. It helps you get your timing down, which is important in our offense. It’s more beneficial than you think.” North Hardin’s LaRod King, the versatile senior who gave a verbal commitment to the University of Kentucky, figures to be the starting quarterback of the Trojans’ new-look offense. At LaRue County, senior Travis Crim, junior Lucas Chaudion and freshman Jordan Brewer all were taking snaps during the passing leagues. Meanwhile, John Hardin returns its starting quarterback – junior Alex Dingle – and Central Hardin has senior Lincoln Pyles and junior Dylan Beger, who split time last season, back to run the offense. Thomas has been the back-up quarterback for three years, taking only a handful of snaps. He started last year at tight end, which gave him a different perspective of the offense. “It’s really exciting,” Thomas said of moving to quarterback. “I can’t wait. I know what the receivers have to go through to get open. I saw a lot of stuff last year. It was a great benefit playing tight end.” When Thomas was in the eighth grade, T.K. Stone used a version of the offense. He said it’s more complicated than it was in middle school, but having a working knowledge of it helps. “It brings back memories of eighth-grade year,” Thomas said. “When Coach (Brad) Todd came back, he brought back a lot of the stuff we ran back then. There’s a lot more to it. I think it would be a big leap if I hadn’t played quarterback before. “I went out for football my eighth-grade year, thinking I’d be a fullback,” he added. “(T.K. Stone) Coach (Mike) Savage told me to throw a football to see what I could do and I kind of stuck there. You just never know.” On the other hand, Mattingly has been groomed to be a quarterback as long as he can remember. His father, Tim, was the head coach at Washington County before becoming the defensive coordinator at Meade County. Mattingly was the starter on the freshman and junior varsity teams at Meade County, but said varsity football is a totally different level. “I’m trying to get used to everything,” Mattingly said. “I’ve been trying to learn how to read different coverages. I’ve been trying to find out who I can get the ball to on certain plays. It’s a lot different and I’ve just been trying to adjust to it.” Meade County is going through major changes, Mattingly being only one of them. The Green Wave, who went 10-4 and reached the 6-A semifinals last season, need to replace 20 seniors. “We’re a young team,” Mattingly said. “We have a lot of young kids playing and we need to learn routes and get our timing down. We’re coming out here, trying to get better in all aspects of the game. We don’t care whether we win or lose these games. It doesn’t count until the first game of the year. We just want to get better before that game.” Chuck Jones can be reached at 505-1759