Each year, Erie Times-News staff members spend much of the summer gathering information on District 10 football teams for the Summer Huddle series, Kickoff magazine and print previews.
Despite all of the research, it’s inevitable that talented players on some teams will not catch our attention. Then, on opening night – bam! – a few players burst onto the scene with huge performances. It happened Friday. Here are a few players who slipped under our radar that we’ll be watching now:
DeShawn Coleman, Hickory: The 6-foot 1-inch, 175-pound junior ran for more than 150 yards in the first quarter alone against West Middlesex. He finished with 295 yards on 18 carries, including TD runs of 80 and 55 yards.
Corey Henry, Strong Vincent: In the preseason, we talked about Vincent quarterback Denzel Jones and running back Michael Neavins, but Henry’s emergence could make the Colonels a force. The hulking 6-foot 2-inch, 217-pound fullback gives Vincent an inside power game. He rushed 15 times for 115 yards Friday in a 42-28 victory over General McLane. Jones also looked sensational.
Nathan McLaurin, Cathedral Prep: With a top-notch quarterback like Damion Terry, all Prep needs to do is get the line to protect him and find some sure-handed receivers. The Ramblers found at least one premier receiver in McLaurin, a 5-foot 9-inch 153-pound senior. He had nine receptions for 122 yards, including TD catches of 36 and 7 yards, in a 25-20 loss to McDowell. McLaurin gives Prep three deep threats, along with Kimani Smith and Delton Williams.
Khyre Drayer, McDowell: Yes, Greg Garmon is an all-state running back who garnered much of our attention in the preseason. But Drayer is a nice change-of-pace runner who piled up 130 yards on 14 carries against Prep. The junior scored on runs of 6 and 71 yards. At 5 feet 10 inches and 225 pounds, Drayer is a nightmare to tackle if he has a head of steam.
Fred Epps, Meadville: Artrel Foster and Terence Goodrum entered the season as the Bulldogs’ two vaunted speed backs. Epps, however, gives the team an effective change-up inside. He rushed 22 times for 187 yards in the Bulldogs’ 33-14 win over Fairview.
Here are a few others who emerged Friday: Lakeview’s Blake Reddick (13 rushes, 120 yards, 53-yard TD run), Harbor Creek’s Austin Griffith (7-of-7 passing, 78 yards, TD and 6-yard TD run), Linesville’s Elijah Anderson (10 rushes, 157 yards, 59-yard TD run), Oil City’s Sam Owoc (10 rushes, 109 yards, 2 TDs) and Wilmington’s Ryan Crawford (5 rushes, 85 yards, 3 TDs).
We’re sure more players will break out in the weeks ahead.