Cyclone quarterback eager for senior campaign

By Allen LaMountain
ASST. SPORTS EDITOR
alamountain@starhq.com

   A self-confessed video-game junkie, EHS senior quarterback Ryan Curtis will try to make the same magic happen on the Brown-Childress Stadium field as he does in the video version of gridiron games.
   As a junior, Curtis threw for better than 1,000 yards with 20 touchdowns and just eight interceptions in what was a season of ups and downs, for both Curtis and the Cyclones.
   Curtis broke a bone in his throwing hand in a pre-season scrimmage, and wasn't throwing properly for the first four or five games of the season.
   Ironically, or perhaps incidentally, the Cyclones struggled to a 1-4 start, losing tough contests to Science Hill, Tennessee High and Greeneville as Curtis struggled with accuracy and velocity.
   This season Curtis is healthy and eager to get going in what he hopes will be a successful senior campaign.
   "I threw about every day this summer, just trying to get ready for the season and get timing stuff down," Curtis said. "Just a bunch of us having a good time with it. Then we would get together and go play video games."
   With a stellar group of receivers and backs to work with and a new offensive scheme initiated by head coach Tommy Jenkins and implemented by offensive coordinator Eddie Pless, Curtis knows he has a lot of weapons to rely upon for offensive success.
   "We are going to be trying a whole lot of new things, and I think it's going to work really well," he said. "The line has stepped up and we have some great backs."
   The main ingredient to the success of the offense is the speed the Cyclones can put on the field with wideouts Lester Bailey, J.R. McFarland and Adam Turley, and tight-end Vince Redd. With weapons like these, Curtis will not lack for downfield threats in 2002.
   "We're looking to do a lot of the same things as we did last year, with me throwing deep to Lester, plus we want to diversify and throw a little more fly patterns," said Curtis. "Lester has good hands and Turley runs the best routes around and has great hands."
   Bailey averaged 23.2 yards-per-reception last season on 13 catches with four touchdown receptions, and is the main deep threat, but Curtis thinks the intermediate passing game could be just as devastating.
   "I'll tell you about speed, though. Vince has speed and he will be a weapon in the passing game and the running game," Curtis explained. "The coaches want to get Vince involved in the running game, because he is so big, quick and strong, he can seal off the corner like nobody's business. He can hook and seal off linebackers."
   Curtis has a friendly competition going as he tries to surpass older brother Andy's senior passing numbers.
   "I just want to throw for more yards than Andy did. That way I'll have bragging rights in the family," joked Curtis. "I think we'll do as well or better than last year."
   With Division I schools like Tennessee Tech and Middle Tennessee State University looking at him as a prospective recruit, Curtis said: "I would like to show them a little bit. I'm not sure that I want to play college ball, but it's good to know the opportunity is there, and to know that they think you have the ability."