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Lions expand QB McDade’s role going forward

Standout Lion junior cornerback Deonte McDade has been seeing regular action at quarterback this season, but his offensive role is taking a major leap forward heading into district play.
Earlier this week, McDade was named the new starting quarterback while JV standout D.J. Betik is now strictly a varsity player as the backup signal caller. Former starting quarterback Chris Lewis is no longer with the team. McDade’s explosiveness has sparked the offense on several Friday nights thus far and that was the key consideration in coach Sam Harrell’s mind when he decided to make the change.
“It seems like when Deonte is in at quarterback, good things happen for us,” Harrell said.
“It gives our offensive line a bigger role in the game and those guys have been playing really well. They like it when we get this running mentality and you can see the excitement about it when they come off the field because they want to keep pounding the ball. We’re a more aggressive offensive team with Deonte’s ability to make plays on the ground.”
On that note, McDade is averaging a ridiculous 11 yards per carry this season (30-329-5) – almost twice as much as any other Lion. He’s attempted just six passes with two completions for 14 yards, but Harrell said McDade is a better passer than most people give him credit for.
“Deonte has always been able to throw the ball pretty well, even though a lot of people don’t know that because we haven’t thrown much with him to this point,” the coach said.
“He can make the throws we ask of him. It will be exciting to see what he can do for an entire game.”
Harrell isn’t sure at this point how much Betik will play in this new situation, saying the team will see how things play out each week. Judging by the sophomore’s spectacular play for the 4-0 JV squad, he could very well be ready for Friday night action when called upon.
With McDade zoning in on offense, Ivan Solis will move over from safety as the new starting cornerback.
“Ivan is a natural corner and we expect him to do well,” Harrell said.
“Who takes over for Ivan at safety depends on what defensive package we’re using.”
On the injury front, linebacker Andy Laza, defensive end Rob Boyd and offensive guard Carlos Valles are still out of the lineup for Ennis. For a team missing three starters, Harrell is pleased to report there are no other major injury concerns at this time.
“You have to deal with the loss of key guys and I think the players who took their place are getting better,” the coach said.
“With that being said, we still miss Andy, Rob and Carlos and need them to return when they’re ready.”
Coaches and players alike would certainly like to enter district play with a record better than 2-2, but Harrell said it’s not all doom and gloom as the most important games are still ahead of the Lions.
“Our team as a whole has been battling hard and trying to do things right this year,” the coach said.
“There’s certainly been times where not much was going right for us, but also great spurts of good defense and good offense – especially with our run defense and run offense. We’re just hoping to put all of that together this week with a more consistent four quarters of play.”

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Posted by on Sep 27 2007. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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