By Brandon Speck
Cameron Orr, Beau Wiggington, Moe Bellamy, Cody Osbirn, Grant Adams and Micah Laney know they won’t often see their names in the newspaper.
That’s fine with the Itawamba AHS offensive front five, because they see their team listed elsewhere, the Journal’s top-ranked large school practicing this bye week as the No. 8 team in the country in total yards – 1,672 through three weeks. That is 557.3 yards per game in a 3-0 start, a lot of credit due to those who are usually uncredited.
“They know what their job is and they know they’re not going to get their name in the paper,” IAHS offensive line coach Zane Thomas said. “But they love each other and they love those guys behind them. It matters to them.”
Thomas, a Houston native who coached offense with Brett Favre at Oak Grove, was looking to come home from Madison Central. He joined former New Albany head coach Ron Price as co-offensive coordinator with first-year Indians head coach Clint Hoots. They have upped the tempo in Fulton. The front five is going to go as fast as oft-slow stripes will let them.
Orr and Wiggington are fast-improving junior tackles. Ballamy is a junior joining senior Osbirn at guard. Hoots credits Adams with quarterbacking from center and Laney is a swing guy rotating at guard and tackle. The Indians try to keep the line as fresh as possible and Thomas says the entire roster has bought in.
“Half of our scheme is based on how fast we move,” Thomas said. “That is all buying in. They drank the Kool-Aid.”
It is quick to give the glory to the skill players – and there is a lot to go around while scoring 41 points per game. Senior prospect Vijay Miller has already thrown for 775 yards and seven touchdowns, no picks. He has completed 45-of-71 and has a QB rating of 133.2.
Miller and Hunter White have combined to rush for 564 yards and seven touchdowns. Hakee Rainey and Caleb Whittle have caught 29 passes for 501 yards and five touchdowns.
Hoots says Miller and White are running with the front line if Thomas requires it after a less-than-stellar practice.
“They do everything together,” Hoots said. “Vijay is really good at making sure they know how much he appreciates them.”
The front line has allowed only three sacks.
“They have really, really grown up. They’ve gotten a lot better and it’s allowed us to jump quicker,” Hoots said. “They’re really gelled together.”
The Indians return to action next week against Aberdeen.