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Stockstill taking over starting quarterback role for Cathedral

LAUREN WOOD / THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Cathedral School’s Tyler Stockstill throws a pass during Thursday’s walk through. The sophomore starting quarterback has been playing the position since he started in AYA football.

NATCHEZ — Sophomore Tyler Stockstill had his “welcome to playing quarterback” moment two weeks ago against Salem High School.

With Cathedral High School starting quarterback Thomas Garrity out nursing a shoulder injury, Stockstill came into the game as the backup — and got his first taste of the grass in the process.

“Coach (Ron Rushing) called a fly route for all the receivers,” Stockstill recalls. “I chose which one I wanted, and as soon as I let go of the ball, I got rocked by their big, 6-foot-8 defensive lineman.”

Though he said it didn’t hurt, Stockstill admitted he was taken aback by the hit.

“I was very shocked,” he said. “I don’t really know how to describe it. It was unexpected, but I shrugged it off. Hits don’t bother me much, really. I just play the next play, as Coach Ron would say.”

That hit is ancient history now for Stockstill, a Trinity Episcopal transfer who has been playing quarterback since his AYA days. Stockstill is set to start when the Green Wave travel to Mount Olive High School tonight. He also started last week in Cathedral’s win against rival St. Aloysius.

“I haven’t really thought about (being a starter), but now that I do, it gives me a sense of pride,” Stockstill said.

Rushing said the coaching staff has decided to stick with Stockstill as the starter for the foreseeable future, and he likes what he’s seen so far.

“He’s managed the game well, taking care of the ball,” Rushing said. “In times we’ve thrown, he’s thrown it well. It seems like he’s taken charge and done a good job.”

With key playmakers Khalil Brice and Ishmael Blackmon out, running the offense might be a challenge for any quarterback, but Rushing said that hasn’t been an issue for Stockstill.

“I don’t think he’s looked at it like that,” Rushing said. “The main focus for us is finding the players we have and getting them the ball.”

Stockstill said he’s aiming to be a downfield threat at quarterback.

“I like to throw the ball deep,” he said. “I like running the option, too, but I’m more of a thrower.”

Rushing said Mount Olive might not be as strong in recent years as it traditionally is, but the Green Wave will have to be ready to hit hard tonight.

“They have a lot of tradition there, and the kids play hard from start to finish,” Rushing said. “They’re probably 95 percent run. Defensively, they’ve given us fits in the past because they’re so athletic.”

As the new Green Wave starter, Stockstill said he would be nervous at first, but not for the entire game.

“About the first two drives, I’ll get nervous,” Stockstill said. “After that, I’ll throw it out and concentrate on the next play.”

Kickoff is at 7 p.m. today at Mount Olive.