If Nixa coach Rich Rehagen reaches into his bag of tricks tonight at Parkview and opts to insert Reid Potts at quarterback, receiver or even as a middle man, he doesn’t have to worry about which quarter to do so.
Potts, a sophomore, gained the great majority of his reps this season at the jayvee level. With that season complete and Nixa kicking off Class 5 District 6 playoff ball against the Vikings, the Eagles don’t have to track Potts’ playing time and keep the number of quarters he’s in action at six, per MSHSAA standards.
“He can be a four-quarter guy,” Rehagen said. “He gives us some options to get him on the field in different ways.”
Potts has received a few chances to give a preview of what figures to be Nixa’s future at quarterback. Most notably, he played a prominent role in the Eagles’ game-winning 58-yard touchdown pass on a flea-flicker at Branson.
Potts caught a lateral from quarterback Hunter Crabtree and then fired the ball downfield to wide-open wideout Lukas Roemen.
“We run that a lot in practice. But I never thought we would run it in a game,” Potts said. “I was very excited when I heard (the call for) it. I didn’t know what expect. But it was well executed.”
Two weeks ago, Potts hooked up with wide receiver Caleb Pierce for a 45-yard pass.
“We made a lot of plays at the jayvee level together,” Potts said.
In only his second year at quarterback, Potts took the great majority of snaps behind center for Nixa’s jayvee team.
“Playing jayvee ball was a great opportunity to show what I can do,” he said. “Being brought up to the varsity was nerve-wracking at first. Everything is faster. I think I’m starting to get used to it. Once I get into the game, I feel pretty comfortable.”
“He’s one who has developed this year,” Rehagen said. “Reid has really had a good year. He’s athletic. We’ve got to get him a little bigger, no question. But I like some of the things he does. He’s pretty quick, he makes good decisions and he throws a good ball.”
Potts was a receiver in junior high. The fact he was a seldom-used receiver led to his decision to move to quarterback.
“My freshman year I decided to be a quarterback,” Potts said. “We didn’t throw the ball a lot in seventh- and eighth-grades, so I wasn’t getting the ball. I thought, ‘Maybe I can get in there and throw.’ I wanted to get our passing game going.”
Potts values the insight he gained as a receiver.
“I know about their timing and what’s going through their heads against cornerbacks and safeties,” he said. ”I think that helps me as a quarterback.”
Potts is plenty motivated for his junior and senior seasons.
“I’m gong to work in the off-season to be able to compete at a higher level,” he said. “For my size, I know I need to get bigger. I also need to throw more accurately and get my deep ball farther.”
Anello back in fold on special teams
Nixa kicker and punter Andrew Anello conceded three weeks ago that his junior season had come to an early end, after being told he suffered a fracture bone in his left leg.
But this week Anello returned to his doctor and received word there was no break and was given clearance to play tonight.
“They did another X-ray and the doctor determined that his leg was not fractured, after all,” said Andrew’s father, Paul Anello. “Since he is pain-free and has been in a boot, he was cleared to play.”
Anello, one of the nation’s top-rated junior kickers, has 13 touchbacks and is averaging 33.6 yards a punt. He is 3-of-5 on field-goal attempts and 9-of-10 on extra-point tries.
Reagen likes COC’s playoff chances
Nixa is one of eight Central Ozark Conference teams alive in the playoffs. The other semifinal in Class 5 District 6 features COC foes Republic (3-7) and Carthage (8-1).
In Class 6 District 3, Joplin (8-2) entertains Lindbergh (7-3).
In Class 5 District 5, Willard (3-6) hosts Waynesville (3-6).
In Class 4 District 6, COC champ Webb City (9-0) entertains Carl Junction (4-5) and Neosho (6-3) hosts Marshfield (8-2).
“I hope they do real well,” Rehagen said of COC teams. “I’m biased, but I think there are some teams capable of doing big stuff.”