Pair of East Davidson wide receivers to play at Averett University
When East Davidson football coach Bryan Lingerfelt took a glance at what the roster would be for the 2012 season, he realized the personnel needed to operate his rushing offense was not there. So he scrapped the run-first scheme and decided to air it out. The sudden change has given two seniors on the team a future in the sport.
Wideouts Taylor Booze and Josh Craven have signed letters of intent to play college football at Averett University. Both were Central Carolina All-Conference performers.
“These are two high character guys,” said Lingerfelt. “The passing game is where we felt like our strength would be and it helped these guys get noticed a little bit more. The coach up there saw them both on tape and thought they would fit really well.”
Booze began his career as a tight end that mostly blocked in the rushing scheme. He had the frame of a lineman, but Lingerfelt came to realize he was needed more on the outside. His height, hands and physical play fit perfectly with the new passing attack.
“I noticed how well Taylor adjusted to the ball rebounding in basketball,” said Lingerfelt. “I knew I needed to get him out there and attack some smaller guys. He is such a smart player and he can create a lot of mismatches. Taylor is a possession player and he does not have to burn you on a deep ball. He can go up and get it and does not mind physical play.”
Booze ended up leading Davidson County with 850 yards receiving on 46 receptions. His six touchdowns ranked second best. The transition paid off quickly for him. He built a relationship with quarterback Austin Wallace the very first night, hauling in seven passes for 132 yards and a pair of scores.
“My junior year I had maybe seven catches and 60 some yards, then in the first game I doubled that. It felt good,” said Booze, who was also a standout for the basketball team. “When I switched positions, at first I did not know what to think. But as I got use to it I found out I was bigger than most cornerbacks and had a mismatch on them.”
Craven earned all-conference honors from his defensive back position, picking off three passes in the East secondary. But it was his offensive production the coaching staff at Averett latched on to. Primarily used as a blocker on the outside his junior year, Craven was thrilled to play a bigger role in the offense this past season and he shined. He caught 17 passes for 400 yards and visited the end zone four times.
“Josh is a tremendous player with a knack for the game,” Lingerfelt said. “He has a sense of where the ball is going to go and has a good feel for the game.”
Craven was shocked to learn of the change on offense and immediately thought it had potential.
“With the quarterback we had this year we knew he could throw the ball,” said Craven. “The change may not have worked out record wise, but we did a lot better than we had been doing.”
The Cougars are a NCAA Division II program in Danville, Va. They went 1-9 last year, but have several returning after losing only eight seniors. Two of the players that return are from Central Davidson and one from West Davidson.
“We have played against some of the guys so it should be a lot of fun,” said Craven.
Sports Editor Zach Kepley can be reached at 888-3631, or firstname.lastname@example.org.