CRESTVIEW — There will be a change for the Crestview High School football team’s starting quarterback spot Friday night when the Bulldogs host Leon for a 7 p.m. Homecoming game.
Sophomore Corey Armstrong will get his first varsity start after a strong showing in the fourth quarter against Fort Walton Beach in Crestview's 35-18 loss to the Vikings.
Armstrong hit 15-of-19 passes for 147 yards and a touchdown to earn the starting spot over senior Khalil Foster.
"Corey is going to start," Bulldog coach Tim Hatten said. "He deserves a shot to get in there and get some snaps under his belt. Khalil did a great job at wide receiver and he has done a good job every time he's come in there.
"We also think he (Foster) will be a good middle-of-the-field safety kid (on defense) so we are going to play him some there."
With Foster's move to receiver, the Bulldogs will have a strong quartet at receiver of Foster, Ronnie Baylark, Matt Gillis and Marquis McClain as targets for Armstrong. Emmanuel Reed and Jaylynne Robinson also will continue to have an important role catching the ball out of the backfield.
Hatten said the Bulldog coaching staff also will try to find a way to get Robinson some more carries.
Hatten remains confident that the Bulldogs are a better team than their 1-4 record indicates.
"We've got great skill people and we think we can do some great things on offense with a guy that gets the ball out of his hand quick at quarterback in Corey," Hatten said. "We are a long ways from perfect, but we are a long ways from bad too. The words 'bad football team' would never be uttered with this team.
"We've had some bad breaks and we haven't made plays when we could have made plays. We've had to overcome some poor decisions by me. There's been all kinds of things we've had to overcome and it's all part of growing and maturing as a team under new leadership."
Leon (2-3) is coming off a 35-21 loss to Florida High. If comparison against a similar opponent means anything, the Lions lost to Rickards 42-14. Rickards beat Crestview 32-27,
Leon uses a power running game on offense and will try to stretch the field at times with tall and athletic receivers.
Defensively the Lions run a four-man front and tries to shut down the run.
"They are aggressive," Hatten said. "They like to keep a lot of people in the box to prevent people from running on them. If we execute our plays (on offense) it should be competitive just like it has the last five ball games we play."
Hatten hopes to use this week's game with Leon and next week's game at Pine Forest to fine tune things before hosting Tate in the District 1-7A opener on Oct. 18.
"We will get better and we've got two more games to get better (before district play)," Hatten said. "We've got to wear that scarlet letter with that 1-4 record. But I've been in the game a long time and the prize is you want to make the playoffs.
"You want to make the playoffs and you want to be competitive. I don't care who we play we are going to be competitive because we've got good players. We've just got to make sure we make adjustments based on what we do right or wrong and we are still doing that."
What: Leon at Crestview
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at email@example.com, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.