For a while last season, Scout Morgan was the quarterback and Central was running a spread offense.
Then in a move that stirred a running argument, the Purple Pounders shelved the spread and reverted to the wing-T, which had been then-coach John Allen's bread-and-butter offense since his highly successful days at Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe.
"We'd started in the spread and then we ran the wing-T. I didn't like that so much," Morgan admitted.
Now he's back at the controls in the spread again under new coach Ryan Mallory, and the pressure is off.
"It's not up to me to make things happen," Morgan said. "It starts with me, I guess, but it isn't my job to make things happen. My job is to help the other guys with the offense, make things run right, distribute the ball and get it into our athletes' hands.
"I wouldn't call myself a star but a guy who makes things work."
Johnny Majors, the longtime Tennessee coach, often told his quarterbacks to be smart, get the ball where it needed to be and don't get the Volunteers beat.
It's a similar situation for Mallory, Morgan and Central.
"We want Scout to be our point guard - run the offense, distribute the ball, make the right reads and decisions, not cost us football games with poor fundamentals or poor mental games," Mallory said. "He doesn't have to do anything special. He just has to be a steady-Eddie kind of guy and let our playmakers make plays."
Morgan can throw a pass and run fairly well for a 6-foot-4, 160-pounder, but he is just now really learning all the nuances of quarterbacking, from knowing each teammate's job and reading defenses to responsibility to leadership.
"Just play smart football. That's the way I see my role here," Morgan said.
- Ward Gossett
CENTRAL PURPLE POUNDERS
Head coach: Ryan Mallory (first year here and overall)
Last year: 5-6; lost to Sequoyah in Class 4A playoffs first round
Returning starters (O/D/K): 3/3/1
(all games at 7:30 Eastern)
Aug. 22 - Franklin County
Aug. 29 - at Polk County
Sept. 5 - at East Ridge*
Sept. 12 - Marion County
Sept. 19 - Red Bank*
Oct. 3 - at Tyner*
Oct. 10 - at Brainerd*
Oct. 17 - Howard*
Oct. 24 - at Hixson*
Oct. 31 - McMinn Central
Control panel: LB James Metcalf (6-0, 220) will be inside in the Pounders' 3-4 defense. "He's a boisterous, personable and trustworthy kid that works hard and has a nose for the football," Mallory said. QB Scout Morgan (6-4, 170, Sr.) started a handful of games a year ago but will get his first full year running the spread offense, and WR Isyah Funk (5-10, 170, Sr.) will be one of the Pounders' top playmakers. "The week of the state track meet he would come to workouts after track and come to our workouts and immediately be the strongest and most athletic guy out there," Mallory said.
New producers: Twins Ashby (5-10, 330, Jr.) and Andrew (5-9, 250, Jr.) Wilson will contribute along the offensive line, Andrew as a starter and Ashby as a utility/sixth man. L Wyatt Green (6-2, 180, Jr.) was a tight end a year ago on the JV team but is moving up to start at left tackle, while RB/LB Tracy Penson (5-9, 170, Sr.) is expected to be the third runner/blocker in Central's backfield and should play some at both tailback and fullback.
In his first year as a head coach, Mallory is in his second year at Central. He was not on the football staff but concentrated on teaching English and working as an assistant to wrestling coach John Lennon. He comes from a football family. His father, Rick, played five years for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and made coaching stops at Washington, his alma mater, Wyoming, Alabama-Birmingham and Memphis before joining Middle Tennessee State last year. Born in Seattle, Ryan Mallory spent three years as a student assistant and two as a graduate assistant at Memphis.
Ashby and Andrew Wilson, who will contribute on Central's offensive line, grew up hearing about the Pounders from their father and their grandfather, each of whom played at Central.
The Pounders have had one winning season and five head coaches since 2003, when they posted an 8-4 record under Curt Jones, who's now an assistant at Sequatchie County. The head coaches before Mallory were John Allen, who became head coach at Powell after resigning in Harrison at the conclusion of the 2013 season; Sam Montgomery; David Barger; and Bo Campbell.
Cortney Braswell, an ex-Baylor running back, has been a well-known face of late in Chattanooga football circles, working at Soddy-Daisy, East Ridge and Notre Dame. He is now Mallory's defensive coordinator and continuing educational steps toward a master's degree.