By T. Scott Boatright
Inexperience is a usual component of high school football.
Raw talent is much more rare.
But that’s what Lincoln Preparatory School head football coach and athletics director Glen Hall saw from his Panthers as they played a spring scrimmage game Friday evening at Ringgold.
Hall said watching his Panthers shut out the Indians while Lincoln Prep scored at least three times was something he couldn’t help but notice.
“We’re so young,” Hall said. “We have some guys in the (defensive) secondary that took some snaps last year, but this was the first high-school football experience for a lot of these kids. Some eighth- and even seventh-graders included.
“But the way these guys ran to the football – the intensity showed – got me excited,” Hall said. “They’re young. We can teach them. They don’t even know the fundamentals yet. But the effort – the hustle – I saw got me excited. We’ve got some guys who want to play. And we’re going to play them if they keep working like that.”
Offensively, it was a dark-horse who seemingly took hold of the starting quarterback role as Jordan Brown was forced into action and responded in winning fashion.
Zion Hicks was out playing an AAU basketball game, so Michael Lewis started behind center, but it was Baker that caught Hall’s attention at quarterback,
“He took a couple of snaps last year, but we had to put Jordan Brown in there,” Hall said. “He came in and we rushed there bootlegs with him and he picked up 50 yards. He completed five passes and threw a deep ball to Cenario Wilson where Cenario out-routed some guys and made a big catch.
“And Cenario made another big catch and Brown threw a couple of screens. He kind of came out of nowhere, but Brown is one of our best keepers right now. We’re not going to throw someone away, especially at that position. Whoever wins is going to win, and he’s in front right now.”
Hall said he liked the efforts from running backs Chase Huntley, who played the linebacker position last year will get carries in 2023, as will Datavian Wright, who is expected to take over the role at fullback – save for one thing.
“They’ve got to learn to hang on to the ball,” Hall said. “They ran the ball well. But both fumbled. And that’s only because of inexperience. They need to learn to carry the ball where it needs to be on a particular run.
“We can teach them. They’ve just not taken enough snaps to know.”
Hall said he left the scrimmage more confident than going in.
“We have talent,” Hall said. “We don’t have experience. But they might fool us this year. There’s a lot of time to grow, But this team has a big future in front of them.
“Next year, look out. We just have to continue to grow up this season and see what happens.”