Last month, Phoenix head coach Denver Pate said there was no definitive starter for the 2019 Sonoraville Phoenix. Blade Bryant and Brady Lackey were battling it out for the starting role, and Pate said the two were like a 1A and 1B.
Fast forward to Friday night, as Sonoraville announces its starting lineup. Lackey is at quarterback and Bryant is at slot.
“Blade is a multi-purpose guy,” Pate said. “He’s very selfless. He’s going to do whatever he needs to to contribute to this team.”
Lackey’s first drive under center was shaky, including an early sack and a bobbled ball that almost turned into a fumble.
At the conclusion of the first offensive series, Pate said he told Lackey to just breathe.
“Just relax and get in the flow of the game,” Pate said. “We were going to try to start him off with a few plays to try and get his feet wet and then we were going to try to open it up a little bit.”
The junior quickly settled in. After starting 1-3 (12 yards), Lackey put on a show, going 7-8 for 252 yards and two touchdowns to close the first half. He also ran seven times for 65 yards.
“Brady’s a perfectionist,” Pate said. “He’s going to try his best to be perfect and sometimes when you do that, when you’re trying not to mess up, you’re likely to mess up. We made a couple of mistakes, but after that, he locked in and he was solid.”
Lackey’s first touchdown pass went to Bryant on a screen pass to the right side. Bryant navigated the right side of the field 45 yards for a touchdown.
Lackey’s very next touch of the pigskin was a deep throw to senior Ben Burns, who then turned on the after burners, streaking 83 yards to the end zone.
Lackey’s success was not limited to just the passing game. He carried seven times, but his most notable carry went for 19 yards on a quarterback draw to the right corner of the house.
What is remarkable about those plays mentioned above was that they occurred back-to-back-to-back.
The Lackey TD run started off the second quarter scoring, followed by the 45-yard and 83-yard strikes.
Lackey’s final stats on the night: 8-11 for 264 yards with two touchdowns.
“I thought Brady got in a groove, he found a rhythm in that game and I thought he did a really good job of pitching and catching,” Pate said. “When his number was called in the run game, I thought he did a good job of running below his pads.”
In the second half, Bryant took over from Lackey and went right to work. Bryant flashed with his legs, notching two rushing touchdowns while under center.
Bryant recorded five total touchdowns (four rush, one pass), his final being a sideline-to-sideline 38-yard scamper. He recorded 181 total yards in the scrimmage.
“Blade’s a player,” Pate said. “I told him this offseason, his offensive coordinator, which was myself, did a horrible job last year at getting him the football. He’s gotta have touches.”
With Lackey appearing to be the starter, no fear for Bryant. There are plenty of spots for him to make major contributions. Weeks ago, Bryant said his biggest goal senior year is to get back to the playoffs. If Friday’s scrimmage gave any indication, Sonoraville is trending in the right direction.
Gordon Central prepares for Haralson County next Friday night, Aug. 23, at Ratner Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Sonoraville is off until Aug. 30, when the Phoenix travel to Model. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.