The Ouachita Christian School Eagles will come into the 2015 season as defending Division IV champions.
Yet, the playmakers will look a lot different and it will be up to young Eagles to keep the program soaring above the rest.
Junior quarterback Grant Fitzhugh, son of head coach Steven Fitzhugh takes over for Chance Clowers who won the Most Outstanding Player award in the state finals last season.
Perhaps an even bigger loss is in senior Jake Slaughter. Slaughter was the top wide receiver with 1,165 yards on 67 receptions and 16 touchdowns.
Slaughter has decided that he will concentrate on his first love, baseball, and forgo playing his senior year of football.
“I just wanted to focus on baseball and play in some select showcases this fall,” Slaughter said. “Baseball is my future.”
Slaughter is committed to nationally ranked LSU for baseball.
Slaughter has started at defensive back and returned kicks for OCS last season.
On offense, Slaughter had the biggest impact with more touchdowns receptions that the next four receivers combined.
One of those was Garryn Chowns who, like Clowers, has graduated. Chowns caught 45 passes for 671 yards and five touchdowns. Fellow senior John Randall Bennett, fourth in receiving last year, also graduated.
Now the Eagles turn to some talented, if yet unproven, wide receivers such as Mavrick Wilhite and Nick Summerall. Both had promising starts at wide receiver but were utilized more at running back throughout the season after severe injuries to running backs Josh Pennebaker and James Anderson.
“Those guys have stood out and improved this summer,” Steven Fitzhugh said. “Wide receiver is their natural position but they played running back (in 2014) out of necessity.”
Brothers Garrett Morris and John Ivan Morris as well as Judge Fortenberry and Bryce Wallace also have made an impact in 7-on-7 play this summer.
Steven Fitzhugh called Wallace the team’s “top JV (junior varsity) receiver” last season.
The team will need all hands on deck as they make the move from Division IV to Divison III this season in the playoffs. The team makes the move from 1A to 2A classification for district play purposes.
Leading the way will be Grant Fitzhugh, who has put together an impressive summer of workouts and 7-on-7 play to gain command of the OCS offense.
“He made tremendous progress over the summer,” Steven Fitzhugh said. “I thought in the West Monroe 7-on-7 (two weeks ago) that he had his best outing. He was more aggressive in his reads and not hesitant to make plays. He made throws into tight windows. You need your quarterback to go out and make as few mistakes as possible and take care of the football.”
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