Few teams have flashed dynamic quarterback play like Sissonville has displayed the past three seasons.
Behind Will Hackney (2017-18) and Chance Brown (2016), the Indians have averaged 3,000 yards of total offense and 38 touchdowns from their QBs.
“Not bad, right?’’ said Indians coach Marc Wilson.
So, following Hackney’s graduation, where does that leave the Indians’ offense this season? For Wilson, there could be more than one answer.
Not only does he have his eye on junior Parker Shamblin, who has been in the program for two seasons and served as the backup last year, but Jackson Foster — an intriguing runner — has transferred in from Ripley. Wilson thinks he might be able to use both players as the Indians line up for the first time in three years without Hackney.
Hackney last season threw for 2,453 yards and 29 touchdowns and ran for 553 yards and 10 TDs. That all-around play was also evident in Brown, who as a senior threw for 2,082 yards and 24 scores and ran for 995 yards and 14 TDs.
So if Wilson can’t mold Shamblin — whose strong suit is passing — or Foster into that sort of player, then perhaps he can tinker with a QB platoon.
“It looks like that if both these guys pan out,’’ Wilson said, “then we’re not afraid to play a two-quarterback system. One is kind of a runner and one’s a passer. We’ll do what we need to do. If one guy becomes the dominant dude, that’s what we’ll do. But we can get both athletes on the field if need be.’’
Wilson is quite familiar with Shamblin, whose father videos games for the team. In Wilson’s first two seasons as coach (2015-16), Parker Shamblin, then in seventh and eighth grade, assisted his father with video work and became acquainted with Wilson.
“He’s been around the program since I’ve been here at Sissonville,’’ Wilson said. “He’s been in the program the last two years learning from Will Hackney and playing [junior varsity] quarterback for us. I have a lot of faith in Parker’s ability.
“We’re not asking him to fill the shoes of Will Hackney or Chance Brown, because that’s an impossible task for anybody to expect. We’re asking him to go out there and lead the team down the field and make the plays we need him to make for us to be successful.’’
Then there’s Foster, who has only been with the team for a few days, but possesses enough ability to make Wilson think about also using him under center.
“He’s a faster player and a dynamic runner,’’ Wilson said. “With his ability to carry the football and run, we’re not afraid to use him as a slot receiver or in a running back position, too. He’s also one of the best corners on our team right away when he got here.’’
Quarterback, however, isn’t the only offensive position where there’s a hole to fill. Sissonville also lost its top running back in Chance Jones, who had 320 yards in the first three weeks last season before being hampered by injuries the rest of the way. Hackney wound up as the ball-carrier with the most yardage.
On the flanks, the Indians are also without three-year starter Mayson Miller, who last season caught 76 passes for 973 yards and 11 touchdowns, giving him 26 career TD receptions. Another top wideout, Andrew Burdette, was also a senior.
“You can’t replace that kind of guy,’’ Wilson said of Miller. “He was the stalwart of the offense. If you threw it to him, he was catching it basically. But we do feel more comfortable with our skill position players than last year because we have more guys who can play. Do we have Mayson? No, we don’t, but we’ve got names who just haven’t been talked up yet.’’
The receiving corps bears some familiar names, especially Dylan Griffith, who last year grabbed 43 passes for 614 yards and eight TDs, Austin Fisher (21-334-3) and multi-talented Patrick Murphy (21-217-3), who played less than half the season due to medical issues.
“Murphy can literally do anything you ask him to do,’’ Wilson said. “We’ve got to get him healthy. We saw some flashes of what he could be last year. He’s come on strong for us and is doing a really good job in practice.’’
An experienced running back returns in Gavin Shamblin (6-foot, 225 pounds), who rushed for 393 yards last year and caught 11 passes for 83 yards. He provides more than just touches and targets, though.
“His blocking ability is as good as anyone,’’ Wilson said. “I expect him to be a college player because of his ability to block, and he’s a great defensive player.’’