By LARRY VAUGHT
From all I had heard I thought watching Frederick Douglas High School play football would be impressive — and it was Friday night when the Broncos easily beat Tates Creek 62-14.
However, I left a lot more impressed for a lot of reasons than I thought I would be.
Here are a few of my observations from a Friday night on a Lexington football sideline.
— Clemson commit Walker Parks is really good. He’s big and mobile. He understands what he’s doing and really is a dominant offensive lineman who can also provide solid play on defense when coach Brian Landis picks his spots to use him.
— Junior offensive lineman Jager Burton, who has multiple big-time offers including Kentucky, insisted he was not feeling his best and didn’t have his best game but he looked awfully good to me. Twice he pulled from his left tackle spot to open holes that led to touchdown runs. Like Parks, he can also be a defensive force when used there. Burton will fly to Texas Saturday for an unofficial visit. He’ll also be at the Kentucky-Florida game Sept. 21.
— Sophomore receiver Dane Key has nice speed, hands and moves. Easy to see why so many schools are watching him play. Cincinnati commit Devin Neal is a playmaker with the ball who can be hard to tackle when he runs the ball. Great feel for the game as well.
— Quarterback Josh McClurg is not afraid to run or take on a tackler. He makes good decisions with the ball and had a nice touch when he did throw.
— Freshman running back/receiver T.J. Horton has a Kentucky offer already despite not yet being a starter for the Broncos — and that says plenty about this team’s talent. But when he got a chance to play, he was really good.
— Freshman Thomas Howard had two catches for 50 yards and a touchdown just a few days after he made his verbal commitment to play baseball for Louisville. Knowing the success Louisville baseball has had, it should tell you something about how good a pitcher he is before he’s thrown his first pitch as high school freshman. He did pitch in eight games last year as an eighth-grader. Based on how he played Friday night, wouldn’t be surprising to see football offers come his way as well.
— Douglas has become the top team in Lexington and that may not change for a while based on the young talent the team has. And get this — Douglas has 53 freshmen come out for football this year at a time when most high school teams in the state don’t have that many players. “I don’t know where all the freshman came from,” Walker Parks said. “It’s crazy.”
— I enjoyed seeing Burton’s father, Jeff (a player I watched play at Mercer County), and Parks’ father, David (a player I watched play at UK), walking the sideline but also volunteering to do duties from equipment repair to sideline maintenance to putting gear away after the game. Both fathers are former coaches and appreciate having a chance to still help while watching their talented sons play.
— Finally, thanks to Landis and offensive line coach Nathan McPeek for letting me on the sideline to watch the Broncos.