football

Recapping the Peanut City Shootout

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Don't miss Will
Garlick's recap of the Region I teams on hand at the event!
The story of the 2009 Peanut City Shootout 7 x 7 passing tournament was the
Grassfield Grizzlies, coached by Martin Asprey.  Although they're youngest
program in the Eastern Region since the school opened in 2007, the Grizz flexed
their muscles in tournament play, outscoring opponents 144-58 in four games on
their way to capturing the trophy.  Engineering the offensive attack, 6-foot-4
lefty quarterback Tyler Clark showed poise, precision passing and
maintained firm control of things as he fired bullet after bullet into the chest
of his receivers.  While Grassfield should still rely on their strong running
game, Coach Asprey has to like the fact his rising junior signal caller is
stepping forward in command of the offense, knows where to go with his passes
and is much improved from this time last year.
 
Often on the receiving end of Clark's passes were Tony Patrick and
Corey Gwynn.  On defense, linebacker Isaiah Twitty (5-11, 200)
doesn't wow with his size, but more than makes up for it with hustle and
intensity.  Strong as an ox with a GPA over 3.0, Twitty has received interest
from Ivy League schools as well as William & Mary and Richmond.  Others that
made valuable contributions on defense included DB's Denzel Nelson and
James Faircloth (6-1, 185), both of whom made an interception in the
Championship win over Lakeland.  Faircloth, a Class of 2011 prospect at safety,
may be ready for a breakout season with his ball skills.  LB/RB Nick Warack
(6-1, 215), ATH Terrell Johnson (6-0, 175), DE/OT Cameron Fitch
(6-3, 235) and RB Bruce Smith – four players that could start for
Grassfield in the upcoming season – were not in attendance.  Each was at a
one-day camp.    
Glenwood Ferebee's Lakeland Cavaliers had a solid showing at the Peanut
City Shootout, posting a 5-2 record before falling to Grassfield in the
Championship.  Lakeland opened some eyes with a 29-12 morning victory over Lake
Taylor.  Tailback Cedric Johnson will probably be used in a variety of
ways for the Cavaliers, even possibly at quarterback when they go to the
'Wildcat' formation.  A Division I-A prospect with an offer from Kent State in
hand, Johnson has drawn comparisons to former Indian River and Virginia Tech
standout Branden Ore.  Make no mistake about it, he's got the ability to kick it
into another gear, and in addition to the expected 20-25 touches from running
back per game, anticipate him catching the ball out of the backfield with ease.
 Lakeland has some undersized athletes on the perimeter that can cause havoc,
such as Tyquan Lewis and Eric Hargrove.  Lewis made a couple nice
leaping catches in the back of the end zone during the day, and Hargrove scored
off an interception vs. the Titans.  Sophomore quarterback Walter Boykins
is raw, but he's progressing with each rep and soaking up knowledge to the point
where he's the front-runner to start their opener. 
Arguably no team boasted better talent than reigning two-time Eastern Region
Champions and 2008 Group AAA Division 6 State Champion Oscar Smith.  Rich
Morgan's Tigers were led by quarterback and Alabama commit Phillip Sims
Considered the nation's top signal caller from the Class of 2010, Sims didn't
disappoint and seldom ever does, orchestrating scoring drives like shooting fish
in a barrel.  The go-to target for Sims was Quintae Funderburke, a player
that although he has yet to start a game or catch a touchdown pass for the
Tigers shows the type of receiving abilities that will undoubtedly make him as
productive as any receiver in the Southeastern District, perhaps the region.  On
defense, linebackers Raysean Richardson and Jeremy Majette
performed well and CB/RB J.C. Coleman ran super fast; he brings the
Tigers another weapon on special teams in the return game.  Plays designed to
get him the ball should be called 'instant offense' or 'instant speed.'  What
really is scary about Oscar Smith is the fact that not even all of their best
players were on the field, including recent Penn State commit and two-way
All-State lineman Evan Hailes
If there was a
team at the tournament matching Smith's talent level it was CollegePrepWorld, a
collection of players from Prince William County area schools including C.D.
Hylton, Woodbridge, Osbourn, Osbourn Park and Potomac.  Leading the way was
the state's top-ranked prospect from the Class of 2011, Dominique Terrell
from Osbourn Park, who showed off his explosiveness and "extra gear" by taking a
screen pass 40 yards for a touchdown in a one-hand touch tournament as he
essentially out-juked an entire seven-man defense.  The team rotated
quarterbacks throughout the day with the most effective being Osbourn's
Thomas Keith who showed nice accuracy and a whip-like arm spinning one
pretty pass after another.  It was clear by the number of times that they
hooked up that he has great chemistry with brother Timmy Keith who ran
great routes and who turned slightly off-target passes into sprawling and diving
catches as well as out-jumping defenders for a number of plays.  On the
defensive side of the ball, the C.D. Hylton Bulldogs representatives stood out
the most with cornerback Iric Harris shutting down everything deep and
making solid pass break up plays in front on him.  Safety Anthony Grady
was the most physically impressive player on the squad and defended well from
sideline to sideline from his safety spot.  David Riley from Potomac did a
nice job playing physical football and Woodbridge's Demetrius Quarles
ranked as one of the best pure cover guys at the event. 
 
The defending Eastern District Champion Lake Taylor Titans won the Peanut
City Shootout a year ago, and while they didn't repeat, Hank Sawyer's bunch
walked away feeling they know where they're strongest and what they need to work
on for the upcoming campaign.  Breaking in a new quarterback in Kevin
Swofford, the Titans got off to a slow start and started to pick things up
with their passing game as the day went on, finding playmakers Travis
Williams and Derrion Walton.  One of the top talents in the state,
Williams made things happen on defense from the middle linebacker spot with his
coverage, while offensively he continues to impress with his height, athleticism
and speed to bring in catches effortlessly.  Shifty and quick out of the
backfield, Walton should factor into the screen game with so much attention on
Williams and Mario Rowson, a tall, rangy corner who has been offered from
Maryland and excels in press coverage.  Keep an eye on Eric Sykes and
Lamont Britt, two returning All-Eastern District performers for the Titans
that bring physicality to their defense and likely to see their Division I-A and
I-AA recruiting interest increase between now and the fall. 
color:black">Warwick Head Coach Juan
Jackson has been on the job for less than a month and that partly explains why
he wasn't sure of every player's name.  One player sure to earn a starting role
is Todrell Jackson (no relation), who appears ready for a breakout year
after earning Honorable Mention All-Peninsula District honors at wide receiver. 
Jackson is also a quick corner whose in your face coverage led to an
interception and a pass breakup against Deep Creek.  At quarterback, the
versatile Lamonte' Williams (5-foot-10) brings an experienced signal
caller to the offense as well as big play ability through the air or on the
ground.  Williams hooked up with Daniel Wary
(6-foot-2, 210), who made several nice catches and will compete for a starting
spot at tight end.  Look for sophomore Marquis Hill (6-foot-0, 165) to
make varsity and grab minutes on the outside. 
Linebacker Albert Webb (5-foot-11, 180) looks to have all the
tools to be a physical presence.   
color:black">Another Peninsula District school that aims to earn their third
straight postseason berth is the Woodside Wolverines.  Danny Dodson's
club will lean on quarterback Aaron Evans, an exciting dual-threat player
that also stood out at defensive back where he showed just what a terrific
athlete he is by leaping high to deflect a couple passes.  Dodson likes what
he's seen out of Brandon Burton, who has stepped up his play and is
another projected two-way starter at receiver and in the secondary.  Marquis
Frazier has the skills to be one of the Wolverines' most dependable players
this fall.  Frazier can catch the ball fairly well runs hard and if he's able to
get up-field more and show the breakaway ability, it'll translate into him being
one of the PD's best players. 
 
color:black">The host Bulldogs of King's Fork are about to embark on
their second season under Head Coach Joe Jones, a former NFL player.  When asked
what he thinks his team's strength will be this coming year, Jones replied,
"Wherever Dominique Patterson is."  Patterson's versatility and speed on
both sides of the ball makes him extremely dangerous, and getting the pigskin in
his hands as much as possible certainly is going to be a priority.  Intelligent
and a hard work, Derek Wright, the hero of the school's basketball State
Championship win over William Fleming when he hit the go-ahead three-pointer, is
attracting attention from in-state schools like William & Mary, Richmond and
Virginia Tech.  Jones has high hops for Michael Murray, a red-haired
receiver better known for his play on the baseball diamond, and Tyrell
Shepherd, two individuals that'll see significant playing time if they don't
start from day one.
 
color:black">Western Branch doesn't have a 'star' player or 'big-name
prospect' like they have in years past with Vince Hall, Kevin Newsome or Ryan
Pond.  However, Head Coach Scott Johnson isn't complaining at all because he
feels confident about the chemistry and work ethic of his group, which he
describes as "blue-collar," and sees making more noise later rather than early. 
Vernon Payne seems like he will contribute heavily in all three phases of
the games as perhaps the best talent on the team.  Don't sleep on corner
Taariq Abdu-Ali, a three-year starter that brings energy to make up for his
lack of next-level size.  Larry Wilson, one of the potential hopefuls at
quarterback along with DeMarta Johnson and sophomore Breon Giles,
made some solid catches at wideout.    
color:black">Indian River missed Head Coach Cadillac Harris at the PCS,
but the Braves have some young athletes that are potential impact players.  For
the Braves, much of their offense will revolve around the play of new
quarterback Corwin Cutler, an incoming freshman that throws a high ball
and is pretty accurate considering having no experience at the varsity level. 
Two years from now, Cutler could be a prospect, and for now, he's going to need
to lean on targets Kevin Lewis, Kerry Spellman and Mylon
Blueford.  Lewis might be the most consistent of the three, Spellman
provides good hands and may be the most talented of the trio and Blueford
appears to be the most instinctive, breaking up a few passes from the corner
position. 
color:black">One of the mystery teams in the Eastern Region will be Deep
Creek, which has suffered the past couple years from losing a good chunk of
their athletes to Grassfield when that school opened.  David Waddell is set to
begin his second year as the Hornets Head Coach, and a lot of responsibility
will be put on the shoulders of Shawn Porter, a member of the basketball
team that is slated to start once again behind center.  Porter slowly but surely
is improving, but still has some work to do when it comes to making reads and
progressions.  Overall, the Hornets are a thin team across the board, yet if
they are able to develop some depth, then they've got a decent chance to be
better than last year. 
color:black">Maurice J. McDonough High School in Maryland brought some
intriguing athletes and prospects to the PCS.  Last year's team started 1-4
before finishing with a 6-4 record as they had to adjust to their pistol spread
option offense, which is run similarly to Nevada's.  Six-foot-3 WR/LB
Javarrus King really impressed with his natural catching ability, scoring
three touchdowns against Grassfield in an early afternoon contest, and
continually finding open creases in the defense.  Javarrus clearly proved to be
the King during his dominant stretch when he didn't drop a pass thrown his way. 
Junior corner Justin Brooks was a disruptive force at times.  Rising
senior receiver DeVante Stamps posses plenty of potential at 6-foot-3,
185-pounds, and while he currently holds no offers, he took a visit to Wake
Forest in April and is on the radar of several college programs.  Senior running
back Derrick Joseph is being recruited hard by Boston College and will be
another Division I-A prospect to go along with King, Stamps and possibly Brooks,
who'll have to overcome his size (about 5-8, 165) and improve both his speed and
strength to reach his ceiling.  
Matthew
Hatfield has covered Eastern Region Basketball & Football since 2004 for
VirginiaPreps.com – the #1 High School Sports Site on the Rivals Network.  Check
out Hatfield's website –
www.matthewhatfield.com – for more on the pro and college sports scene.  To
contact Matthew, please e-mail
hatfieldsports2k4@yahoo.com.
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