New quarterback puts Sparkman in the win columnPublished 8:22am Thursday, October 3, 2013
HARVEST- Michael Pruitt waited patiently for two years as a backup quarterback but his wait is over. A four game losing streak to start the season caused Sparkman Head Coach Tim Gillespie to insert Pruitt late in some games.
Then Gillespie reopened the quarterback competition and last week Pruitt got his first start against Grissom and responded with a stellar passing night to lead the Senators to a 48-0 victory.
“He’s a low key kind of guy but he decided he wanted to fight for the job and I’m proud of the way he did,” Gillespie said. “Him and Mason (Edwards) are still friends, they work side-by-side and they are still battling for playing time and it makes them both better.
He’s got a knack to step up in the crease and get rid of the football and he has shown he can move the pocket and keep his eyes downfield,” Gillespie said of Pruitt.
Gillespie was not surprised at his performance last week.
“We have confidence in who we put out there,” the second year coach said. “He did a good job avoiding the rush and creating some time in the pocket. And getting the ball to open receivers and he threw an accurate ball.”
To say he was accurate is an understatement.
In the first half, Pruitt hit 16 of 18 passes for 186 yards and two touchdowns. He finished with some gaudy passing numbers; 20 of 24 passing for 294 yards.
Pruitt is a junior who came up through Monrovia Middle School. He has good size at 6-foot-1 and 185 pounds.
Despite a record of 0-3 in Region 8, Sparkman controls their own destiny starting with a homecoming game this Friday night against Buckhorn.
“We could just as easily be 4-1 as we are 1-4,” Gillespie said. “The kids have been resilient. Their attitude has been good at practice and they continue to work hard. Last week was the best game we’ve played since I’ve been here, all phases of the game.”
Pruitt has help in the Sparkman backfield. Running back Lorenzo James is leading all the running backs in 6A with 926 yards on 84 carries through just five games.
“It’s not like we have been blowing people out so all his yards came against 6A first string defenses,” Gillespie said.
Against Grissom, James ran for 166 yards and scored four touchdowns as Sparkman won their first game of the 2013 season. He now has nine touchdowns. James scored on runs of 5, 28 and 64 yards and caught a 10-yard touchdown pass.
On the recruiting front, James has visited Furman, JacksonvilleState, and will next visit Middle Tennessee.
One sidebar to the Buckhorn game is that current Sparkman defensive coordinator Chris Hancock was the head coach at Buckhorn last season.