Shared from the 9/22/2016 San Antonio Express eEdition

H.S. FOOTBALL

Hurricane in new role but still making plays

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Edward A. Ornelas /

Express-News Sam Houston's Jawon Anderson

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Edward A. Ornelas / San Antonio Express-News

Jawon Anderson ranks 17th in the Express-News Area in total offense with 777 yards through four games, three of which Sam Houston has won. The Hurricanes take on Brackenridge today.

Jawon Anderson’s move from wide receiver to quarterback was all about the math.

Anderson, who served as a play-making receiver for Sam Houston the previous two seasons, was one of only four returning starters for the Hurricanes in 2016.

Among those lost was three-year starting quarterback Raymonte Prime.

Anderson, who last played quarterback as a freshman on the Hurricanes’ junior varsity three years ago, was appointed Prime’s successor.

And for good reason.

In two seasons as Prime’s go-to receiver, Anderson posted 59 catches for 1,316 yards (22.3-yard average) and 21 touchdowns. Those are the kind of numbers that helped Sam Houston coach Melton Schultz figure the young Hurricanes would benefit by giving a playmaker like Anderson more touches.

“Moving him to quarterback, he’s a defensive coordinator’s nightmare,” Schultz said. “You talk about dual-threat quarterbacks. He can throw it a mile or he can tuck it and run. He’s shifty. He’s fast. He makes good decisions.”

The move has been a success, so far. Anderson has completed 25 of 44 passes for 472 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions. Each completion goes for nearly 19 yards. He has also rushed 43 times for 305 yards (7.1 average) and six TDs.

“As soon as I say, ‘hut,’ I sense pressure,” said Anderson, who is tied for 17th in the Express-News Area in total offense with 777 yards.

“I like to stay on my feet. No quarterback likes to get touched. I like to stay on my feet as long as I can and make a play.”

He showed that ability during the Hurricanes’ District 28-5A opener against Edison on Sept. 9. Anderson escaped pressure time and again to keep plays alive. That helped Sam Houston roll up 591 total yards in a 57-42 victory. Anderson rushed for TDs of 26 and 40 yards and he also completed a 31-yard TD pass to Garland Coleman.

“I have the ball a majority of the time, and I like making decisions to where the ball is going to go,” Anderson said. “I love playing quarterback.”

Anderson has factored heavily in the Hurricanes’ 3-1 start. Sam Houston is 2-0 in district heading into Thursday’s game against Bracken-ridge (2-2, 2-0 28-5A) in Alamo Stadium.

Taking over the reins from Prime wasn’t easy.

Prime was a first-team all-district quarterback the last two seasons. Anderson was a first-team all-district receiver over that span, too. They formed a combination that helped the Hurricanes win back-to-back district championships. Now that Prime has graduated, Anderson is trying to find his go-to guy.

“We were pretty much like a 1-2 combination,” Anderson said. “We had that connection. I’m trying to find that connection with one of my key receivers.”

Leontrey Thomas (six catches, 127 yards, three TDs) and Brandon Adams (7-124) are the leading candidates.

Anderson also started at safety the previous two seasons. He still sees spot duty on defense and recorded an interception against Edison. Schultz believes having Anderson play defense has had a big effect on his team.

“It’s hard to want to take a play off when your leader is on the field all throughout the game,” Schultz said.

Anderson is not a stranger to being in adverse situations. As a freshman, he went from JV quarterback to being a starter on the Hurricanes’ varsity basketball team that advanced to the 2013 UIL state tournament.

Anderson scored 10 points in Sam Houston’s 77-62 loss to Dallas Madison in the Class 3A state semifinals at the Erwin Center in Austin.

“They threw me in there with the big men,” Anderson said. “Going to that state semifinal game at UT was the greatest experience I’ve ever had.’

Anderson, a 6-foot-2 shooting guard, has been a first-team all-district selection in basketball in each of the last three seasons. He has received college interest in both sports and a lot will hinge on how he performs on his college-entrance exams.

“He can hit the outside jumper and he can take off a step or two past three the free-throw line and dunk on it on you,” Schultz said. “When you need a big play on the football field or the basketball court, you look for Jawon Anderson.” dhinojosa@express-news.net Twitter: @hinojosa_david

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