2021 High School Football Preview: Murray County needs success from two-quarterback system, strong defensive play

Daniel Mayes/Daily Citizen-News

Murray County High School's Tyson Leonard fires a pass in a 7-on-7 competition at the high school in July.

CHATSWORTH -- Murray County High School head football coach Chad Brewer knows there's a stigma for some coaches against playing multiple quarterbacks during a game.

His philosophy? He wants his best players on the field, and seniors Justice Knotts and Tyson Leonard are two of his best players.

"That's been the plan all summer," Brewer said of his two-quarterback plan. "We're in a very unique situation where we have two seniors and they're like opposites of each other. What one does well, the other one doesn't do as well. They both do things well, so we have to play them both to give us a chance to win football games."

Both will play defense as well, Leonard as a defensive back and Knotts as a linebacker. Both spent time at quarterback last year when senior starter Kaleb Jones was out.

"I know there are some coaches that are totally against two quarterbacks, you need to pick one and go with it," Brewer said. "I don't think they've had a situation like ours either. I like both of them back there. In the second half, we'll see who's been moving the ball best, who's got our team in the right spot, then we may make a decision then and just go with one."

Brewer said the senior class, including Leonard and Knotts, will help set the course for how Murray will fare. Thirteen seniors will lead Murray County.

"Our season will be successful based on how our seniors play," Brewer said. "Those guys will lead our football team this year. We'll go as they go."

Those seniors take over after a class of 23 seniors left Murray after the 2020 season, including key players like Jones, wide receiver Brannon Nuckolls and running back Davis Redwine.

Two of the seniors on the upcoming squad are first-time football players. Caleb Hooker and Carson Weaver, who have been on the Indians basketball team, will play wide receiver and defensive back.

"I like what we've got. I like those young guys," Brewer said. "I feel like we're playing hard and making progress. If we continue to do that, we'll be able to fill those spots."

Brewer said he'd like to see his team play better to begin Region 6-3A play this season. The team had sizable defeats to Adairsville and LaFayette to begin region competition in 2020, putting it behind schedule in the playoff race and eventually finishing 4-6 and on the outside of the playoffs.

After non-region games against Southeast Whitfield and Gilmer, Murray will start Region 6-3A play with those same two teams.

"We've got to compete better in those two region games," Brewer said.

Aside from health, Brewer said another important key for the Indians in 2021 is defense.

"We're going to have to play defense," he said. "There is not a bad offensive team in our region. If we want to stand a chance at all at a winning season and making the playoffs, which is our goal, then we're going to have to play well on the defensive side of the football."

Murray County

Mascot: Indians

Colors: Green and white

Classification: Region 6-3A

Head coach: Chad Brewer

Last year's record: 4-6

Key losses

QB Kaleb Jones

RB Davis Redwine

TE/S Brannon Nuckolls

OL Gabriel Mena

K Elber Romero

Key players

QB Tyson Leonard, senior

QB Justice Knotts, senior

LB Aaron Flood, junior

RB/DB Taylor Carrell, senior

Circled on the schedule

Gilmer, Sept. 3

• Murray County's final non-region tuneup will be a home game against Gilmer. After opening the season against Southeast Whitfield, the Indians hope to win this one and be 2-0 entering Region 6-3A competition.

Coahulla Creek, Oct. 1

• The Indians host Coahulla Creek after a close contest last year. Murray won that one 15-7.

North Murray, Oct. 22

• The Indians welcome their cross-town rivals in the penultimate game of the regular season. Murray is looking for revenge after a short-handed squad took a 56-8 defeat in last year's game.

Region 6-3A

Adairsville

Coahulla Creek

LaFayette

Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe

Murray County

North Murray

Ringgold

Rockmart

Sonoraville

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