Central High School football coach Ty Scroggins frequently has said one benefit of his program’s recent success — four state championships in five seasons — has been a larger roster and more depth.
So when starting quarterback Tae’Shawn Gibbs went out with a concussion during the first half of his team’s second-round playoff game against Wayne County on Nov. 9, Scroggins had no problem trusting backup Sydney Tedford to keep the Yellowjackets rolling.
“I was like, ‘Well, we have to roll with Sydney,’ ” Scroggins said. “We really didn’t talk about it, and I wasn’t worried. I have confidence in Sydney. He’s a good quarterback. Going into the season, Sydney was competing (with Gibbs) to be a starter.”
Tedford rewarded that confidence, connecting with Devonte Yelder on a 60-yard touchdown pass with 4:18 remaining to give Central a 21-18 victory over Wayne County. Last week Tedford didn’t put up big numbers but was praised for his game management as Central won 14-10 at Bell County.
Next up for the Yellowjackets (11-2) is Monroe County (12-1), which will travel to Louisville for Friday’s Class 3-A state semifinal. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Central.
Scroggins said Tuesday that Gibbs, a 5-foot-10 senior, has been cleared by doctors to return to action but that Tedford, a 6-3 junior, likely will remain the starter for the Monroe County game.
“Hopefully if Sydney goes out there and does his job we won’t have to use Tae’Shawn a lot and he won’t have to take any extra hits,” Scroggins said. “We’re going to work him back slowly.”
Gibbs is enjoying a solid senior season for Central, ranking second with 732 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns and also completing 54 percent of his passes for 1,114 yards and nine TDs.
He already had rushed for 107 yards against Wayne County before taking a hit just before halftime that sent his helmet flying. At halftime Tedford learned Gibbs had a concussion.
“My team was like, ‘We believe in you. You’ve been waiting on your moment, and this is your moment. Let’s see what you’re going to do with it,’ ” Tedford said. “I just played my game.”
Tedford watched Central’s 14-6 halftime lead become an 18-14 deficit early in the fourth quarter before connecting with Yelder for the game-winner.
Tedford said he’s thought about that TD pass every day since throwing it.
“Without that pass we wouldn’t be in the playoffs right now,” Tedford said. “He and I are just thankful we hooked up at the perfect time.”
Tedford completed just 1 of 6 passes for 12 yards last week against Bell County as running back Deris Cox did most of the work, rushing for 149 yards and two TDs.
“He played real well against Wayne County and managed the game really well against Bell County,” Scroggins said of Tedford. “He missed a couple of passes he should have hit, but what we want him to do is manage the game and just continue to do some of the things we do.”
Scroggins said the only major change to the offense with Tedford at the helm is running less option, as Gibbs was more of a running threat.
Yelder said there isn’t much difference between the two.
“Tae’Shawn is more of, ‘1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-3, OK, I’m gone,’ ” Yelder said. “With Sydney, he’s more patient. If Tae’Shawn sees one (defender) coming, he’s gone. Sydney is going to let that guy hit him before he delivers.”
And how has Tedford’s style worked out so far for the Yellowjackets?
“Pretty good,” Yelder said. “We keep on going, so I can’t say he’s doing bad.”