Editor’s note:Spring football is over and summer workouts are starting for Baker and Crestview's football teams. We recently looked at the Gator offense and defense to project how they will line up in the fall. Today, we turn our focus to Crestview and the Bulldog offense.
CRESTVIEW — Things are running more smoothly as Tim Hatten enters his second season as Crestview High School’s head football coach.
The players have had a year in his offensive system and are able to play faster as they know what to expect. Hatten likes what he has seen from his team heading into year two, but he knows there is still a lot of work today.
Graduation hit the Bulldogs hard at wide receiver, but the starting quarterback seems set as Crestview starts summer workouts Monday.
Corey Armstrong, Rusty Moorer and Alex Maxwell will compete for the starting job at quarterback that, heading into the summer, has Armstrong, a rising junior, leading the pack.
Hatten said all three quarterbacks showed promise in the spring.
Armstrong started the last half of the 2013 and should be hard to unseat as the first-team signal caller.
“Corey did a good job (in the spring),” Hatten said. “Coming out of spring he is probably the number one guy. Rusty Moorer and Alex Maxwell are behind him kind of battling it out for number two.
“Come the summer time one of them could get a little better and one could get a little worse. Nothing is set in stone. We were pleased with them, but it’s not where it needs to be just like the other positions aren’t where they need to be.”
A new face will line up at running back this fall. Jaylynne Robinson graduated and Emmanuel Reed left the team going to Sebastian River, where he reunited with former Bulldog coach Kevin Pettis.
A quartet of ball carriers; Devon Riley, Derian McGee, JaQuan Daniels and D.J. Stewart should give the Bulldogs plenty of firepower at running back.
McGee and Riley missed the spring jamboree with injuries, opening the door for Daniels and Stewart to play against Fort Walton Beach and Choctawhatchee.
“JaQuan Daniels and D.J. Stewart had a chance to run the football (in the spring game) and both of them did a real good job for us,” Hatten said. “We found out they can do a lot of things. It helped us to have those two guys (McGee and Riley) out.”
With Matt Gillis, Khalil Foster, Ronnie Baylark and Robinson all having graduated the Bulldogs have to reload at receiver.
Fortunately for Hatten the cupboard isn’t empty.
Marquis McLain saw plenty of playing time as a sophomore and at 6-2 ½, 210 pounds, he returns for what could be a breakout season. Rising sophomore Andrew Adkins is another tall and athletic ball catcher that could present problems for opposing defenses.
Daniels, Riley and Blayze Spencer also will see time at receiver.
“We like the combinations that we’ve got coming back,” Hatten said. “We lost some good players, but we replaced them with some good players too.
“We increased our height there.”
Matt French and Chase Henderson will get the first shot at tight end.
French, who has played the offensive line in the past, has impressed Hatten.
“Matt has a lot of experience in the offensive line,” he said. “He blocks well and he runs well and he catches it well. He’s a good athlete.
“We’ve also got Chase Henderson who did a good job for us lining up at tight end. He also does a good job at defensive end as well.”
A third option at tight end would be Tyrone Baker.
Crestview should be experienced and deep on the offensive line.
Trevor Vaughn, Sebastian Lee, Hunter Walker, Spencer Singletary and Nate Gerard return up front. They’ll be joined by a pair of impressive newcomers in Cole Lambert Justin Martel.
“We lost two guys, but we return five guys that at one time started for us and I think that’s going to be the strength of our offense,” Hatten said. “I thought they did a good job in the spring game controlling the line of scrimmage.
“We expect to get a lot out of them this year controlling the line of scrimmage and making sure our quarterback doesn’t get pressured.”
Seth Kootsouradis, Tyler Hancock and Danny Born are fighting it out for the kicking spot Hancock manned much of last season.
Gerard will be the long snapper on extra points and field goals. He could also handle the kick off duties.
The most important thing for Hatten though is finding a guy that can consistently put the ball through the uprights.
“We’ve got to be able to make an extra point,” he said.
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at email@example.com, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.