By Erik Harris
PINSON — The 2014 season was a “weird year” for Pinson Valley football, according to head coach Matt Glover.
The sixth-year head coach dealt with many things between August and November, including a brief divide in the locker room and a key injury in the backfield, but still managed to work his way into postseason play.
“I think our kids learned more life lessons this year than they did football lessons,” Glover said. “It was a challenging year, wasn’t ready for it to be over, but with everything that went on, I needed a little break.”
One guy who likely won’t be getting many more breaks is quarterback Errius Collins. The senior-to-be started under center for the Indians for the first five games of the season before being removed from the roster following a Week 5 loss to McAdory.
Collins completed 51 percent of his passes for 736 yards while quarterbacking Pinson Valley to a 2-3 record before his benching and eventual removal, which seemed to be attitude related.
Glover acted swiftly to the situation, but is open to second chances.
“I told (Collins) whenever it happened, I said, ‘Hey, you’re done for this year, but do what you’re suppose to do, stay out of trouble and I’ll let you back,’” Glover said. “As long as he stays out of trouble, he’ll be with us in spring training.”
With Collins’ replacement Jackie Matthews only being a freshman, a quarterback competition will likely break out in spring practice. The freshman stepped into the starting roll in October and played beyond his years, going 3-0 in his first three starts.
However, the offense naturally lost a bit of maturity when Matthews took over for Collins. Both guys have experience and things to improve on in 2015.
Collins has the physical tools that make defensive coordinators nervous, but has to sharpen the mental side of his game in order to become a winning quarterback.
“The intangibles are there (for Collins), the athletic ability, the running ability, the throwing ability; he’s got to be a better game manager,” Glover said.
Collins threw seven touchdowns and six interceptions through five games as a starter.
Matthews proved to be a coachable player as a freshman, but needs a summer in the weight room. He greatly benefited from having four-star running back Nick Gibson in the backfield with him last season.
Gibson, who carried the ball 224 times for 1,358 yards and 20 scores as a senior, will be playing for Dan Mullen at Mississippi State next fall. Junior-to-be Torrey Hendrix will have the honors of replacing the 2013 Class 5A Back of The Year award winner. Hendrix went for 569 yards rushing, averaging 7.2 yards per carry, and six touchdowns.
“His vision is a little better than Nick’s, not saying Nick’s vision was bad, but Nick’s more of a (bruiser) where Torrey’s more of a slicer and dicer,” Glover said.
Those slices and dices might come a little easier in 2015 behind a more experienced offensive front. The Indians will welcome back seven offensive starters.
Only five starters return on the other side of the ball, but Glover sees a bright future up front with Zeke Lawrence and Desmond Scott entering their sophomore years on Pinson Valley’s defensive line.
The Indians will compete in Class 6A, Region 6 again next season.