Park Crossing already had high hopes for the 2015 season. Coming off of a 7-3 year in their varsity debut, the Thunderbirds returned every player and added a few.
One of those few was P.J. Blue.
The 4-star safety from Jemison joined fellow 4-star safety Jeawon Taylor in the defensive backfield, and the duo has helped Park Crossing to its playoff debut when they host Bessemer City on Friday.
“The year I’ve been here, I’ve grown with this team. They’re like my brothers. So it feels right to be here,” Blue said. “I think it just gives our defense confidence to make plays because they can rely on us back there. It’s not just us.”
With Taylor running the show on defense, and Blue’s physicality, the confident Thunderbirds fly around on the back end.
“We won’t get beat deep. That’s a fact. And instead of me communicating around the field, I can just communicate with my side and he can communicate with his,” Taylor said. “It’s given us great athleticism. We were already good, but he made us great on the defensive side of the ball. He brings physicality and athletic ability that we need.”
The two are neck and neck statistically. Blue holds the edge in tackles (67 to 60), while Taylor leads interceptions (3 to 2. But that’s not the only thing they go back and forth about.
“I would say I’m a harder hitter than Jeawon. He might disagree with that, but we can argue about that later. I’m going to say I hit harder than him,” Blue said.
And the Florida commit responded:
“Hey, he can say what he wants. He can be a harder hitter, but I’m the best tackler. And that’s what counts,” Taylor said.
Adding another 4-star safety to the mix has paid off in the regular said, but now it’s time for the postseason. Coach Smitty Grider said the talented secondary is ready to be tested with it all on the line.
“(Blue) has a real physical mentality. With the big hits, and he’s had some big interceptions for us, adding another big-time guy has made us better,” Grider said. “We’ve added a couple of packages because we have so many talented defensive backs, it’s allowed us to do some things in the secondary. Plus having Jeawon and his intelligence has allowed us to do a lot. He can set them up against any situation. So it’s allowed us to do some things that you normally can’t do.”