Reaves making impact on both sides of ball for TC
Judd Lutz said he didn’t want to compare Columbian wide receiver/cornerback LJ Reaves to former Ohio State star and NFL receiver Terrelle Pryor.
But the Tornadoes’ coach said there were some similarities.
Like Pryor, Reaves is a big guy — 6-foot-3, 165 pounds — and according to Lutz, can be deceptive on the football field.
“I think we kind of joked around as coaches the last couple of years, with how he doesn’t look like he’s necessarily trying, he’s just very effortless,” Lutz said. “We noticed that, even in workouts when he’s running. You know, at full speed — and he’s out front sometimes — it still doesn’t look like he’s necessarily trying, but he is trying. It’s just very effortless looking.”
And like Pryor, Reaves is becoming a game-changer.
He had a long touchdown catch in the final seconds of the first half against Toledo Waite two weeks ago, and last week hauled in a pair of interceptions in a lightning-delayed game at Ashland.
“Very sure-handed, offensively, defensively … we expect him to make the play,” Lutz said. “He’s made some big catches for us in the last couple years offensively, and then last week had a great game defensively when the ball was in his area. He’s done a good job developing as a corner and still being physical in getting off blocks.
And he’s a big reason the Tornadoes come into tonight’s home game with Toledo Start 3-0. He has four catches for 99 and a touchdown, and is averaging nearly 25 yards a reception. As a defender, he leads the Sandusky Bay Conference River Division with three interceptions.
“One of our best playmakers, for sure,” Lutz said.
The Tornadoes take on an 0-3 Spartans team that has been outscored 131-35. Start is coming off a 42-12 loss against Clyde last week.
It’s a non-conference game, though one would think the Spartans could apply for a spot in the SBC Lake.
They play three of the league’s five teams this season. They go to Bellevue next week.
“They’ve got a very mobile quarterback (Jeremiah Beringer), a kid who can extend the play and really throws a pretty good ball,” Lutz said.
Lutz added he was impressed with some of the other skill players on the offensive side.
On defense, Lutz said Start likes to bring the heat.
“They want to put pressure on you; a lot of times they’re bringing one if not two linebackers, along with their four defensive linemen, so you have to throw the ball accurately and on time, and then hopefully break a tackle and make a big play,” Lutz said. “So, we’ve got to be very assignment-sound inside if we’re gonna run the ball, because they’re gonna pack the box sometimes, and then make plays in the perimeter when they’re there.”
Much of that will fall to quarterback Chase Frankhauser, who made his first start at quarterback last week after missing the first two games due to injury.
Frankhauser played well, completing 16 of 30 passes for 214 yards against Ashland. He also ran for 92 yards and two touchdowns, and was intercepted once.
“I thought he did a really good job of taking what was there,” Lutz said of the signal caller. “He only made a couple of throws where I felt like he forced things. Other than that, he took what was there, threw the correct read, and then when it wasn’t there, extended plays with his legs and made some things happen.”
With Frankhauser back, that moves Nick Koerper — who had been playing quarterback — to the perimeter. Koerper has nine catches for 97 yards this season.
It’s a good boost for a team that will be looking to be 4-0.
“Altogether, pretty happy with how things are going, but the sense of urgency is definitely there, though,” Lutz said.
Kickoff is 7 p.m. At Frost-Kalnow Stadium.