Walker To Key Cuthbertson Offense

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Junior quarterback Davis Walker is back at full speed and that is good news for the Cuthbertson High School offense.

Walker (6-foot-4, 180 pounds) suffered a season-ending injury in 2016 but the junior is back to lead the Cavaliers’ spread offense. Cuthbertson will lack experience at wide receiver to start the year but the run games looks solid and Cavaliers head coach David Johnson is optimistic the offense will get better with each game

“Davis was actually a kid that was playing on the varsity last year and got hurt and was done for the year,” Johnson said. “He is a really big kid and he has a live arm. He can throw the ball a long, long way. We are expecting big things out of him.”

Running back Christian Heinzelman (5-11, 225) enters the season as a three-year letterman and the senior will help key the Cavaliers’ running attack.

“Christian played as a freshman and he started the last two years,” Johnson said. “He is our bell-cow. Christian is big and he runs the ball extremely hard. He got hurt last year and was out a while. We battled a lot of injuries last year.”

Junior Myles Wallace (5-10, 160) will also see extensive time in the Cuthbertson backfield.

“Christian and Myles, they are 1A and 1B in our book,” Johnson said. “They are going to see a lot of carries and a lot of playing time. We are real excited to see what we are going to get out of our guys.”

Graduation hit hard at wide receiver but Josh Blocker (6-3, 165), Trevor Grant, Jack Davis (5-10, 160) and Christian McIntosh have all showed promise in offseason practices.

“Wide receiver, that is the position that we are weakest,” Johnson said. “We had three graduate last year that started for us for four years. We are going to be young at that position.”

Senior Bryce Blackwood (6-0, 255) will anchor the offensive line at guard after starting the last two seasons. Blackwood will also log time with the defense.

“We consider Bryce a four-year starter because he played as a freshman,” Johnson said. “Bryce is a dream to coach. Great work ethic, great kid. Bryce does what he is asked to do and will do what ever the teams needs. He has been a pleasure to coach the last four years.”

Senior Matthew Lopez (6-0, 215) and junior Jarred Jennings (6-2, 250) also bring experience to the offensive line.

“The other positions, we are trying to figure that out,” Johnson said. “We have some young kids battling it out. We have some guys to pick from.”

Cuthbertson won its final three-regular season games of the year in 2016 to qualify for the playoffs but the season ended with a heart-breaking 31-28 loss to South Iredell in the first round.

“We were so young last year and having that feeling late last season is sort of driving us,” Johnson said. “At South Iredell, we had the game won and they came back and had a run. We scored late with a minute to go to possibly win the game but we had it called back on a penalty. It was a penalty but we don’t point fingers. We were so close and we had a taste of it, but it was taken away.

“That is our motivation and that is what drives us. But there will be no easy weeks. This will be Southern Carolina Conference football. It’s the best conference in the state and if on any given night you are not ready to play, you are going to get beat.”

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Paul Nielsen
Nielsen was a sports writer for what is now the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for nearly 32 years before moving to North Carolina in February 2016. At the Democrat-Gazette, Nielsen's primary responsibility was beat coverage for Rogers High School. Rogers is a Class 7A school located in Northwest Arkansas.
Nielsen, a University of Arkansas graduate, covered the Northwest Arkansas Naturals Minor League Baseball team from 2008-2015. The Naturals are the Double-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals.
Nielsen has experience covering University of Arkansas athletics, including NCAA Tournament basketball games and several football bowl games. He also covered amateur and professional golf tournaments in Northwest Arkansas.
Nielsen lives in Matthews with his wife, Susan. He can be reached at ripig1979@yahoo.com.