Cathedral High School’s Khalil Brice, center, and Christian Jenkins, left, both running backs, run drills during practice Friday afternoon on the school’s practice field. (Lauren Wood \ The Natchez Democrat)

CHS’s Brice comfortable at running back as fall camp picks up

Published 12:01am Saturday, August 4, 2012

NATCHEZ — Cathedral High School is aiming for more balance on offense, and running back Khalil Brice will be one player the Green Wave is relying on to help find that balance.

Brice briefly flirted with the idea of playing quarterback this past spring, but the Green Wave senior said he ultimately preferred running back. Thomas Garrity, who backed up Caleb Upton last year, will be at quarterback for Cathedral.

Cathedral began fall practice Monday, and Brice said he’s already feeling very comfortable taking handoffs and making plays.

“I played running back in my younger days,” Brice said. “I’d rather run downhill full speed than be at quarterback and have to build up my speed first.”

Though Garrity spent much of the summer focused on baseball, Brice said he’s been very impressed with the junior signal caller.

“I’m extremely happy with how good he’s gotten,” Brice said. “I can’t believe the zip in his passes. People are thinking baseball, and that he’s just throwing balls around, but that’s helped his game, too.”

Cathedral head coach Ron Rushing said he’s aiming to have a strong running game this season, but he still plans to throw the ball quite a bit.

“We just want to find those three to four guys who can score, and try to get them into space,” Rushing said.

Last season, Cathedral went with a variety of different defensive formations instead of sticking to one main scheme.

With the offense replacing key starters like Upton and receiver Daniel Huffines, the Green Wave look to rely more heavily on their defense this fall. Rushing said he’s looking for a more consistent look on the defensive side.

“It was something different each week, and this season we’re looking to keep people at the same positions each game,” Rushing said. “I think it’s going to be more structured. The staff has done a great job teaching technique.”

Rushing said the first three days of fall camp were imitations of spring practice before the team began installing new things Thursday. In comparison to his first two seasons at Cathedral, Rushing said his team is as well-conditioned as its ever been.

“We’re way better conditioned thanks to the amount of running we did,” Rushing said. “(Strength coach) Jonathan Gamberi came in and pushed them and got them stronger and faster this summer.”

That will give his team an advantage early on in the season against any team that may not have put in as much work, Rushing said. But with Adams County Christian School, Loyd Star and Resurrection as the first three teams Cathedral faces, Rushing said he doesn’t expect any of those teams to be lacking in conditioning.

“It helps with injuries early on in the season,” Rushing said. “When you play teams that haven’t done as much conditioning, it’s a huge advantage early on. But I know the teams we’re playing early have been working hard, too.”