Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Cedar Hill's spring game doesn't produce clear-cut choice for QB
CEDAR HILL - If you’re losing a quarterback who had a 32-7 record as a starter, it’s good to have a pair of talented successors competing through spring practice to take over. Andre Anderson and Damion Hobbs split time at quarterback in Cedar Hill’s spring game Friday and Longhorns coach Joey McGuire said it may be through non-district next season before a choice between them is made.
“They’ll both play quarterback and receiver to start the season and we’ll probably make a decision with one at quarterback before district,” McGuire said.
The left-handed throwing
Anderson started at quarterback with the No. 1 offense and showed confidence
and familiarity. He also played receiver when Hobbs was the quarterback. Hobbs
will split time at receiver next season but McGuire said he wanted Hobbs to get
as many repetitions as possible.
A sophomore, Hobbs also is a standout on Cedar Hill’s basketball team. The speedy Anderson and the strong arm of the mobile 6-4 Hobbs offers a strong follow-up to Driphus Jackson, who signed with
“Andre and Damion actually are a lot like Driphus in that they’re good leaders and they’re good students,” McGuire said. “They have confidence and both did well with this being sort of their first big game to be quarterback.”
Anderson completed 2-of-5 passes substituting for Jackson last season and he had 18 carries for 94. But Anderson totaled 55 catches for 588 yards. The left-hander primarily threw quick passes in the scrimmage but did have a 61-yard run on option, roll-out. Hobbs showed his promise with a 30-yard, bullet pass for 30-yards while rolling left and throwing across his body.
The dual-threat Jackson also was Cedar Hill’s leading rusher but the Longhorns showed plenty of running ability this spring. Sophomore speedster LaQuvionte Gonzalez broke free on a 52-yard run on the first drive and will be used in the backfield and at receiver. Junior Evan Williams broke several good runs. Williams had played at Cedar Hill and has moved back after a move to Flower Mound Marcus. Sophomore Jared Rayford rushed 185 yards on 35 carries last season and also played in the No. 1 backfield.
What Cedar Hill accomplished this spring: Another program making a transition to a 4-2-5 alignment played successfully by TCU. Transitioning from a more traditional 4-3 in an effort to prevent big plays, Cedar Hill showed much more zone coverage but will try to keep its aggressive, fly-to-the-ball mentality.
“We’d get people in second-and-12, third-and-10 and then we’d give up a big play last year,” McGuire said. “We’re going to try and keep more eyes on the ball to keep it in front of us.”
Cedar Hill defensive end David Harris returns as a very disruptive, play-maker on the edge. Linebackers Isaiah Lewis and Steven Taylor finished strong springs with strong final scrimmage showings. Cedar Hill has another speedy defense and McGuire said the Longhorns will have a rotation of 18 to 22 players.
Surprise of the spring: Junior J.C. Franklin has moved into the rotation at free safety. He spent last season with the junior varsity but has made huge progress with a “great spring” said McGuire. “He’s only 165 pounds, but he’ll hit you with all of it.” Franklin and Ronald Jones both worked with the No. 1 defense at free safety. Cedar Hill didn’t have a field goal last season but Olufemi Ijabiken showed a strong leg this spring. Along with the snap and hold,Ijabiken must improve consistency but showed in the spring game he’s capable of 40-yard field goals. Cedar Hill’s successful tradition was evident with about 40 former players on the sidelines including Oklahoma lineman Adam Shead, TCU defensive back Elisha Olabode and Texas A&M running back Ben Malena. Assistants from TCU, Arizona and Northwestern watched the entire scrimmage.
Still competing for positions: In addition to quarterback, Cedar Hill has strong competition at center to anchor the offensive line. Anthony Pullins moved from right guard to fill in for injured Ashton Thirkill and the starter is now undetermined. “They both played well, but Anthony has had a really good spring, and now it’s turned into a big battle,” McGuire said. “It’s such an important position with the shotgun snap that we’ll keep looking at it.”
Regular season schedule
Aug. 27: vs. Allen at 7:30 p.m. at SMU’s Ford Stadium
Sept. 5: vs. Denton Guyer at 8 p.m. at Cowboys Stadium
Sept. 10: vs. DeSoto at 4:30 p.m. at Kincaide Stadium in Dallas
Sept. 23: vs. Mansfield Legacy at 7:30 p.m. at Cedar Hill’s Longhorn Stadium
Sept. 30: vs. Mansfield Timberview at 7:30 p.m. at Longhorn Stadium
Oct. 7: vs. Grand Prairie at 7:30 p.m. at Grand Prairie’s Gopher-Warrior Bowl
Oct. 14: vs. Midlothian at 7:30 p.m. at Longhorn Stadium
Oct. 21: vs. Mansfield at 7:30 p.m. at Mansfield’s Newsom Stadium
Oct. 28: vs. South Grand Prairie at 7:30 p.m. at Longhorn Stadium
Nov. 4: vs. Duncanville at 7:30 p.m. at Duncanville