North Hills' 1st-year quarterback gettng plenty of support in starting role
By Jason Mackey
Published: Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012, 8:22 p.m.
Senior Brian Johnson will be a first-year starter at quarterback for North Hills after the 6-foot-2, 190-pounder didn't play football last fall, instead focusing on AAU basketball.
Not to worry — Johnson will have plenty of help.
“The entire program is not on Johnson's shoulders,” Indians coach Jack McCurry insisted.
Which is good, because North Hills is coming off a losing season — 4-5 overall, 2-4 in the Quad North — one of only a handful in McCurry's illustrious 35-year career.
Supporting Johnson will be a host of talented backfield mates in Tyler Reddick, Josh Hulbert and Jordan Blackmon — all seniors, all talented, all versatile.
Reddick led the team last fall with 98 carries for 650 yards and five touchdowns, and Blackmon and Hulbert combined for 57 carries, 531 yards and six more scores.
Blackmon, who was the team's leading receiver with 19 catches for 346 yards and three touchdowns, will also team with Reddick in the team's Wildcat packages. Hulbert is a reliable option in the slot.
“It makes it easier because they know what the expectations are,” said McCurry, whose Indians have reached the WPIAL quarterfinals or semifinals in seven of the past nine years. “They know what we do and the adjustments we make. They're all there to help (Johnson).”
North Hills also returns three offensive lineman: junior center Brandon Malick, senior guard Andrew Ungerman and junior tackle Colin Murphy.
Two seniors, Malik Frank and Anthony Danko, will anchor the middle of the defense from their linebacker spots, junior Kevin Koch is a returning starter at outside linebacker.
Reddick, Blackmon and Hulbert are returning starters in the secondary, with Blackmon tallying four interceptions a season ago.
“We're always sound defensively,” McCurry said. “We understand that regardless of our talent level, if we can play good defense, we're going to be in every game.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.