By Brandon Speck
Fred Garth’s numbers may get a little lost in Friday’s result. In a 39-13 loss against Aberdeen in the 77th A-Game, the Amory quarterback rushed for 161 yards on 21 carries.
Garth’s talent isn’t lost on first-year Amory coach Ben Ashley.
“He’s probably the best football player in our division,” Ashley said. “Fred’s going to give us an opportunity to be successful.”
Amory has had a rash of injuries, season-ending injuries to quarterback Jon David Poss and backup running back Austin Renfro. The injury to Poss put the 6-foot-3, 185-pound Garth at that position full time, though he was already going to play as big an offensive role at running back as he was at linebacker.
Through three games – Garth started each of the last two – he has 347 yards and three touchdowns on 57 carries. Garth is only 9-of-26 for 98 yards passing, a touchdown and three picks. That needs improvement, but Ashley says Garth has the arm. It is also to be expected from a guy expected to spend all season in the backfield, but not at quarterback.
“Fred’s a Division I football player,” Ashley said. “I’ve coached a bunch of those. He’s right in there. You’re talking about a 6-3, 185-pound kid who runs a 4.6, just a really good player. He’s got an opportunity if everything works out, to get a college degree and do it playing football.”
Ashley credits Garth’s leadership thus far, as well as his practice mentality and consistent work. He says the senior would punt if asked.
Amory started the season with two wins, despite a lot of new faces. The Panthers (2-1) go to New Albany on Friday to take on a Bulldogs team still trying to adapt to a lot of new personnel as well. New Albany may not know a lot about Amory’s still-new faces, but Garth is well on the radar, college radars Ashley says.
“Fred’s unique,” Ashley said. “He’s not a burner. A 4.6 is fast enough, but the college guys, they like them to run 4.4s and that kind of thing. I think Fred is probably going to be an outside backer. He’s going to grow. He’s going to be a 245-pound kid. He’s got a bunch of skills.”