By Gene Phelps
TUPELO – Daniel Bristow is no RG3, but Tupelo’s quarterback does have the wheels if needed.
In last week’s 20-0 season-opening road win against Lafayette, the junior raced 42 yards when a pass play broke down on a second-and-10 from the Golden Wave 27-yard line.
“We had called a screen pass and I saw the corner fly up,” Bristow said. “The middle opened up and I took off.”
He finished with four rushes for 49 yards and connected on 13 of 18 passes for 156 yards.
“We want to limit his exposure when it comes to doing that (running),” offensive assistant John Keith said, then smiled. “When things break down, he can make some things happen.”
Keith would prefer to see his 6-foot-5 quarterback hand off and pass.
Bristow distributed the ball to five receivers, including four apiece to Alex Norwood and 6-5 newcomer Jerico Thompson. Four of his passes were for 20-plus yards, including a 32-yarder to tight end States Norman.
He also got a solid rushing performance from his backs, Deamio Garmon and Tavonta Hadley, who combined for 151 yards on 27 carries. Garmon led the way with 96 yards on 14 attempts and scored Tupelo’s second TD on a 39-yard run.
“Our passing game was good and our running game was working,” Bristow said. “It’s good when you have five people who get out, run the routes and catch the ball.”
Keith thought his second-year QB managed the offense well for a first game.
“(Bristow) did what we wanted him to do,” he said. “He made good decisions. It was a good opening game.”
Bristow was under center in last season’s 13-2 run to a North Mississippi championship and a Class 6A state title game appearance.
“Last year was a big learning experience for me, especially with a new offense,” he said. “It’s going to help me this year.”
Tupelo opens at home Friday, hosting Center Hill on its new, blue artificial turf.
“It’s going to be exciting, you can’t beat a home crowd,” Bristow said.