The Houston County Bears have started out of the gate in 2014 at a full sprint, outscoring their first two opponents by a combined score of 87-37.
The up-tempo offense instituted by head coach Von Lassiter in his first season at the helm last season has started to come into its own, and the Houston County record book could be completely re-written by the end of the year.
Quarterback Jake Fromm has completed 57.1 percent of his passes this season and is averaging 331 yards per game through the air. Perhaps even more impressive is his 7-to-0 touchdown to interception ratio.
He already is nearing the halfway mark for touchdowns in a season at 15. If he continues at his current pace, the program yardage record of 1,588 will fall in just week five.
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“We get to watch him every day, and he’s pretty good at putting the ball where he’s supposed to,” Lassiter said. “I think if you asked him, he’d say that’s what he’s supposed to do and I’m so proud of him for doing it.”
A big key to Fromm’s success has been the play of his offensive line. The five guys charged with protecting the quarterback have done just that. Houston County hasn’t surrendered a sack this season.
“He’s had a lot of time to throw the ball, and he’s made really good decisions on where the ball should go,” Lassiter said.
Wide receivers Jaylen Searcy and Darion Anderson have emerged as playmakers on the outside. Searcy leads the team in catches with 11 for an impressive 18 yards per reception.
As impressive as those numbers are, Anderson’s might be even better. He’s hauled in seven grabs for a 37.7 average and has taken four of those catches to the end zone.
“Darion has great ball skills and tremendous game speed,” Lassiter said. “He’s very important to us both on offense and defense.”
With all the attention paid to the aerial attack, it’s easy for some to overlook the running game, but Houston County doesn’t afford defenses that luxury.
Starting tailback Kenny Gant is a powerful runner, toting the ball 30 times this year and averaging 7.7-yards per carry. He’s also contributed in the passing game with three touchdowns on eight catches.
“Kenny is a really dynamic back,” Lassiter said. “He’s got really good vision to make the cuts where the holes are open. He trusts his offensive line when we’re running our zone scheme and he’s had a really good start.”
Lassiter also praised the play of Gant’s backfield mate Kory Engram. Engram has three touchdowns on the ground and is also averaging more than seven yards per touch.
“We feel really good about our running game even though it’s not getting a whole lot of recognition,” Lassiter said.
Despite the early success, Lassiter recognizes that a football season is more of a marathon than it is a sprint, and he insists that there is still room for plenty of improvement.
“We’ve still got a long way to go,” Lassiter said. “We have to continue to get better. We’ve got some really good teams coming up that we’ve got to play.”