CHARLOTTE, N.C. --- In the main event of Saturday’s “Charlottepreps.TV Kickoff Night,” Mallard Creek clobbered Independence, 58-6.
Quarterback James Smith, who scored six total touchdowns including a top ten worthy plow, and Mallard Creek’s speedy, physical defense, whose starters allowed 114 yards, rightfully will garner most of the praise. But, the Mavericks’ offensive line deserves a healthy portion of the credit, also. That line is anchored by three 2017 prospects – Eric Douglas, Grant Gibson, and T.J. Moore.
Eric Douglas, Mallard Creek
Douglas – a long, athletic, 6-foot-3, 281-pounder – started at left tackle. Given his position (i.e. the quarterback’s blindside protector), it’s unsurprising that he was Mallard Creek’s best pass blocker (see below video). Additionally, he was the most consistent O-lineman overall.
By using his quick feet, Douglas shadowed his targeted defender in pass pro and then used his long reach to manipulate. Even when occupied with a block, he kept his vision alerted for potential delayed blitzes.
As a run blocker, Douglas will lock onto a defender and “dance” to keep him out of the play. Taking advantage of his athleticism, he was sent to block in space on tosses and jet sweeps.
T.J. Moore, Mallard Creek
Whereas Douglas and Gibson started as sophomores, Saturday was Moore’s debut. He played junior varsity a year ago, but was moved up to varsity for the playoffs where he added depth to the D-line. Against Independence, he started at right tackle.
As expected, Moore isn’t nearly as polished as his aforementioned linemates. However, at 6-foot-4 and 272 pounds, he might have the highest ceiling. He certainly appeared to get better with each snap.
Moore fires out of his stance and gets into his block quickly with good leverage. Saturday, he was much better as a run blocker (see video below) than in pass pro – in particular, he struggled with the outside rush, especially against blitzing linebackers.
Grant Gibson, Mallard Creek
Starting at right guard and facing the greatest challenge on Saturday (i.e. Penn State pledge Christian Colon) was Gibson, an intelligent lineman who plays with natural leverage because of his height (listed at 6-foot-1).
While a huge asset on the high school level, Gibson’s lack of ideal height (and arm length) will scare some FBS programs away or force them to project Gibson as a defensive tackle. Regardless, he was very success on Saturday night thanks to his effective initial push and quick feet. His quick feet was also advantageous when he was asked to pull.