Photo by Shawn Byrne.
KINGMAN – The thing that makes the Arizona Cardinals’ Larry Fitzgerald one of the NFL’s best receivers is not his great catches or great runs. Fitzgerald is willing to block for the running game, and that is what makes him special to have on a team.
The willingness to block and be physical has been ingrained into wide receivers, slot receivers and tight ends for the Lee Williams High School football team.
“We’re told when a linemen makes a block we get three to five yards,” said senior defensive back/wide receiver David Herrera. “When we make blocks we get touchdowns. We get two people blocking and our running backs have the speed and skill to get touchdowns.”
LWHS coach Jacob Iodence wants all the receivers to be physical when they’re being pressed on the line of scrimmage and when they need to get to their proper depth on routes. The Vols receivers are expected to fight in order to not be rerouted by the defense and when making those blocks.
“They’re doing a great job exemplifying what we want to do offensively,” Iodence said. “Especially blocking. Coach (Patrick) O’Boyle has them blocking, and that’s huge.”
Herrera and Justin Sturgill should play key roles at wide receiver. Sturgill was on the Miner’s All-City team after catching more than 50 percent of Lee Williams’s receptions. He hauled in 35 passes for 462 yards and three touchdowns.
Iodence and O’Boyle, along with defensive coordinator Clint Sasse, are in their first year coaching the Vols, and Sturgill likes the changes to the Vols passing game.
“It’s getting a lot better,” Sturgill said. “We’re spreading it out and not getting all clumped together. Everybody’s contributing to the passing game, and I have confidence in the whole team. I’m ready.”
The offense has depth at the receiver positions. The Vols also have Cody Ferrin, Bryant Nguyen, Matthew Nguyen, Colin McMullen, Malaki Ward, Randy Long, Hunter Sturgill and Luke Requa listed at wide receiver. The tight ends listed are Edmond Ashton, Matt Shaw, Adam Baca, Austin Robinson, Kael Juelfs, Aaron Santos and Joel Nunez.
Sturgill said if the speedsters like himself are effective, the Vols’ slot receivers will be the reason why he and the other wideouts are successful.
“The slot guys are stout and they can catch,” Sturgill said. “With the outs doing their jobs and the slots doing theirs inside, we’re going to be hard to cover.”
Lee Williams has its first taste of live action coming up next week, and it’ll give the Vols a chance to see how successful the receivers can be against an opponent.
The Vols host Wickenburg in a scrimmage at 6 p.m. next Friday at LWHS.