As sophomore quarterback Connor McGinnis has improved this season, so has Heritage Hall.
“He has exceeded our expectations, I would say,” Heritage Hall coach Andy Bogert said of his young signal caller.
McGinnis' performance on Friday night against Pauls Valley earned him The Oklahoman's selection as Player of the Week.
McGinnis rushed for 155 yards and three touchdowns in the Chargers' 35-13 victory over the Panthers in the first round of the Class 3A playoffs. The 6-4, 185-pound McGinnis scored on runs of 40, 5 and 41 yards.
“He is the fastest guy on our team,” Bogert said. “He can flat run. We look for ways to get him the ball in the open.”
McGinnis, who has been clocked at 4.45 seconds in the 40-yard dash, has passed for approximately 1,400 yards this season while rushing for 700.
“He is the ultimate dual threat, and that's what you like,” Bogert said.
McGinnis is much more comfortable running the Chargers' option offense now than he was at the beginning of the season.
Learning the footwork and getting the timing down was difficult at first, he said.
“I had never run the option before,” said McGinnis, whose brother, Tyler, is a senior wide receiver for the Chargers. “I've gotten a lot better with the timing with my running backs, and the reads are getting a lot easier.”
Bogert said McGinnis keeps getting better.
“The option is not easy to run,” Bogert said. “He reads it really well, especially for a sophomore. He has got a good grasp of our offense.”
McGinnis is one of four sophomores who start for the Chargers, along with four freshmen. And now that the playoffs have begun, McGinnis is seeing more playing time on defense, starting at outside linebacker against Pauls Valley.
This was supposed to be a rebuilding season at Heritage Hall after a Barry Sanders and Sterling Shepard led Charger squad reached the Class 3A semifinals last year.
The Chargers (8-3) returned only four starters from last year and had a tough stretch at the beginning of the season where they lost to Clinton, Davis and Kingfisher in consecutive weeks.
But now they have won seven in a row and will travel to Jones on Friday night for a second-round playoff matchup against the potent Longhorns.
“I think our team has grown up tremendously,” McGinnis said. “I think we are kind of flying under the radar.”
As far as Bogert is concerned, the best thing about McGinnis is that he is just a sophomore.
“Being this young, he has done a great job,” Bogert said. “He's got a future.”
Fans pick Carl Albert's Thompson as Player of the Week
Nearly 2,000 votes were cast, and Carl Albert quarterback Steven Thompson came out on top of the NewsOK Varsity Oklahoma City-area Player of the Week fan poll.
In workhorse style, Thompson carried the ball 38 times for 189 yards and all four Titan touchdowns in a 28-21 upset of Del City last Friday.
Here are the final results of the poll:
Steven Thompson, Carl Albert: 871 votes (43.7 pct.)
Connor McGinnis, Heritage Hall: 839 votes (42.1 pct.)
Jordan Evans, Norman North: 170 votes (8.5 pct.)
J.T. McFadden, Guthrie: 59 votes (2.9 pct.)
David Cornwell, Jones: 55 votes (2.8 pct.)
Total: 1,994 votes