Tupelo continues QB shuffle

By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Injured Tupelo quarterback Luke Hobson is optimistic about his chances of returning to the lineup this season.
The senior suffered a fractured fibula (lower leg) Sept. 23 in the Golden Wave’s Division 1-6A opener against Columbus.
“I’m hoping they can put an air cast on it and I can play,” he said earlier this week at practice. “I threw a few passes today.”
However, in Hobson’s absence, offensive coordinator Andy Crotwell continues to look for the most productive scheme – with quarterbacks Ashton Shumpert, the team’s starting tailback, and Thomas Harris – as the regular season winds down.
Tupelo (4-4, 2-2) hosts DeSoto Central (4-4, 0-4) in a division game at 7 p.m. today. Games against Horn Lake (away) and Olive Branch (home) remain.
“We will continue to use both,” Crotwell said of his QBs. “Ashton’s throwing the ball well. We’ve put too much on him. We’ve got to get him more comfortable.”
Not so wild
In last week’s 56-14 loss to South Panola, Shumpert played QB the entire first half in the wildcat formation, but the offense struggled. He finished with minus 26 yards rushing against the talented Tigers.
The week before, in a win against Southaven, Tupelo lined up in various power sets in the first half with Harris under center and Shumpert at tailback.
“We didn’t feel like we could line up and power (South Panola),” Crotwell said. “We need to settle in with both of them and find a comfort zone with each one.”
Harris, who has had his moments, has completed 12 of 24 passes for 279 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. He threw the go-ahead TD pass in the win against Southaven.
“Thomas has acclimated himself to the game speed,” Crotwell said. “He’s made some good throws.”
Tupelo’s defense, which gave up nearly 500 yards to South Panola, will be tested this week by DeSoto Central running back Nathan Vandergurg, who has rushed for 840 yards this season.
The Jaguars’ quarterback, Kyle Morgan, has completed 45 of 98 passes for 502 yards and five touchdowns. He’s also rushed for 250 yards and two scores.
gene.phelps@journalinc.com