The heart of Heights’ offense will once again be in its running game with familiar names. Seniors Tre King, Trenton Autry and Armond McCray combined for nearly 2,000 rushing yards last season.
“I wouldn’t trade our running backs for anybody,” Heights coach Terry Harrison said. “… Their No. 1 goal, and this is why we’re so excited about these returning starters, is they want to win football games at Heights. They listen to the play call and listen to assignments. They block for each other, and then when it’s their turn to get a piece of the pie, they’re ready.”
Heights will be without senior Curtis Whitten, who transferred to Derby. He had more than 700 rushing yards as a sophomore, then suffered a knee injury early in the season-opening loss at Carroll as a junior.
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Autry is the power runner, while McCray is what Harrison calls a “speed demon, who, anytime he touches the ball, can take it the distance.”
Then there’s King, who had 18 touchdowns as a junior.
“Tre is a good combination of both (McCray and Autry),” Harrison said. “He can do everything, and he’s a great receiver out of the backfield, so we’ll be able to throw him the ball out of our passing game.”
There wasn’t much passing in 2013, when Heights had 40 attempts and 10 completions.
But junior Garrett Haskins will change all that.
“When he throws the ball, he looks like someone who has thrown the football all his life,” Harrison said. “He doesn’t look like a running back playing quarterback, but he’s a quarterback who can throw and is able to run the ball.”
Having a more balanced offense should make Heights, which has dropped down to Class 5A and has 35 seniors and 12 returning starters, even more dangerous.
“Our offense is going to be hard to stop with me, Trent, Armond and Garrett,” King said.
“If they stop the run game, then Garrett can throw the ball. Instead of us being the Heights in the past where people knew what we were doing, now we can pass the ball.”
Heights, which has 15 winning records in the past 16 seasons, also has the defense to stop opponents. If the defense faltered in 2013, it was often because of the unfortunate position they were placed in because of an offense that battled turnovers, including five in opener at Carroll.
The Falcons, who had two straight shutouts and 13 consecutive quarters without giving up a point, are led on the defensive line by Carlos Taylor, Trayon Hayes and Deontre Spires.
A LOOK AT HEIGHTS
Coach: Terry Harrison, second season, 7-4
League: City League
Last season: 7-4
Last five seasons: 47-13, lost in second round of 6A playoffs
Projected 2014 playoff team? Yes
Top skill players
|Sept. 12||Wichita South|
|Sept. 19||at Dodge City|
|Sept. 26||at Carroll|
|Oct. 17||at Andover|
|Oct. 24||at Emporia|
Tre King on his team
What Heights does well: “Just continue to move the ball, run to the place, block for each other and play for the team.”
What has to improve: “Staying focused, and if we’re doing, a lot of people get their heads down, so just keep competing and working.”