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WR Anderson ranked fourth in receiving yards as sophomore

Cathedral High School wide receiver Jardarrius Anderson heads downfield with the ball after making a catch during practice at D'Evereux Stadium Thursday. (Justin Sellers / The Natchez Democrat)
Cathedral High School wide receiver Jardarrius Anderson heads downfield with the ball after making a catch during practice at D’Evereux Stadium Thursday. (Justin Sellers / The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — Jardarius Anderson may only be a sophomore, but the Cathedral High School wide receiver is performing like an upperclassmen.

That was teammate Ishmael Blackmon’s assessment of Anderson, whose 865 yards through five games has him ranked No. 4 overall in receiving yards on MaxPreps.com.

“As a sophomore, you’d think he was a senior, given how he goes up to get balls,” said Blackmon, himself a senior. “When you have a receiver like him line up opposite of you, you know if you don’t get the ball, he’s going to get it and put up yards.”

Anderson said he was looking to have a breakout year before the season began, but even he was surprised at the numbers he’s put up so far.

“I didn’t think it was going to be as big as it has been, but the season is going good so far,” Anderson said.

The Green Wave sophomore said his connection with quarterback Thomas Garrity has been a key factor in putting up the kind of numbers he has.

“He’s getting the ball to me,” Anderson said. “I know the quarterback will get me the ball when he needs to, and he trusts me with the ball in my hands.”

Cathedral head coach Ron Rushing said he knew Anderson was capable of making big plays, but like Anderson, he was surprised at the early success of his sophomore receiver.

“The line has blocked well and given Thomas time (to throw), and Thomas has made some good throws, but (Anderson has) gone up and made some plays, too,” Rushing said.

“The biggest thing is for him to realize his potential. As a sophomore, the sky is the limit, and the potential is there for him to further his career if he keeps improving.”

With the Green Wave offense being pass-heavy, Anderson said he enjoys playing for Cathedral, because he knows the ball’s going to be in the air more often than not.

“We spread the ball out a lot, and everyone touches the ball, so it’s a fun system to play in,” Anderson said.

It also helps to have guys like Blackmon and junior R.J. Givens next to him so that teams don’t simply focus all their efforts to stopping Anderson.

“It’s really helpful,” Anderson said. “Most of the time, teams can’t play double coverage because of Ishmael and R.J. All of our receivers are capable of catching the ball.”

And Blackmon said he doesn’t mind sharing catches with Anderson and Givens.

“We’re all team players,” Blackmon said. “We want to win. If one of us has 10 more catches (than the others), it doesn’t matter, because we’re not selfish at all.”

Though he strongly prefers offense, Anderson also helps the Green Wave out on defense at safety. Since he enjoys catching the ball so much, Anderson said he likes the idea of getting an interception, though he’s yet to tally one so far this season.

“I’m not disappointed,” Anderson said. “The other corners and safeties have a lot of interceptions, and our (defensive) line is doing really good this year, so (opposing quarterbacks) don’t have much time to throw the ball. And we haven’t played a true passing team yet.”

Whether it’s offense or defense, Rushing said it’s Anderson’s athletic abilities than make him stand out as a player.

“He jumps well, has good hands and is capable of making big plays — and he has made them,” Rushing said. “I’ve coached a lot of kids who were athletic but didn’t make the plays he’s made.”

Anderson and the rest of the Green Wave (4-1, 2-1) will host Stringer High School (4-0, 2-0) for homecoming at 7 tonight for a key Mississippi High School Activities Association Region 4-1A game.