High school football: Manning has shown poise at QB for Logan

Published: Thursday, Nov. 15 2007 12:00 a.m. MST

LOGAN — It can be fairly easy for young quarterbacks to find themselves zeroed in one receiver. Having a favorite target can be a good thing, but what happens when the defense takes him away?
Often, for young signal-callers, mistakes and turnovers ensue.
So far, however, that hasn't happened to Logan junior quarterback Jeff Manning.
The 6-foot-4 right-hander has flourished since becoming the starter this fall, and perhaps one of the biggest keys to his success has been his ability to spread the ball around in coach Mike Favero's spread offense.
Entering top-ranked Logan's championship-game showdown with No. 4 Judge this Friday, Manning has thrown touchdown passes to nine different receivers, and his three favorite targets — Jeff Watts, Mike Hlavaty, and Jason Maughan — each have at least 27 catches.
"He distributing the ball nicely," said Favero. "It's a tribute to him that he's not locked into one guy, and he basically throws to the open guy. It's been nice to have multiple guys that can make big plays."
Manning has complete 167-of-324 passes this fall for 2,129 yards and 28 TDs. He said having all those receivers to throw to has made his transition to starting quarterback a lot smoother.
"It makes it a lot easier, knowing you can trust them," said Manning. "We've all got each other's backs, and it's just nice having all those options out there."
Hlavaty, a senior, has been a major big-play threat all season, and has caught the ball 36 times for 509 yards and a team-leading nine touchdowns.
Then again, Logan's other leading receivers have made big plays, too.
Watts has hauled in 39 passes for 446 yards and four TDs, while Maughan has 27 catches for 366 yards and four TDs.
When you look still further, it doesn't really drop off from there, either.
Fourth-receiver Logan Brown has accounted for 219 yards and four touchdowns, and fullback KC Taylor (22 catches for 218 yards and two TDs) has been heavily involved in the passing offense.
Impressive indeed.
"They just run their routes hard," said Manning. "They all can catch the ball. It's nice having a lot of receivers out there like that.

E-mail: drasmussen@desnews.com

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