REFORM, Ala. — Scott Marchant has a dilemma.
The Pickens County High School football coach has a talented quarterback to direct his team”s high-powered passing offense.
The former defensive coordinator also has an athlete versatile enough to play a hybrid safety-linebacker position.
Problem is, that player is Deion Curry.
But Marchant isn”t allowing Curry”s talents to prevent him from playing on both sides of the ball.
It”s a good thing Marchant feels that way because Curry showed Friday night how he can change a game on offense and on defense.
Curry threw for five touchowns, ran for another, and returned an interception for a touchdown to lead Pickens County to a 52-6 victory against Isabella.
For his accomplishments, Curry is The Commercial Dispatch”s Prep Player of the Week.
Marchant, who worked last season at Pickens County High as the football team”s defensive coordinator, said the Tornadoes didn”t use Curry on defense last year because it wasn”t necessary.
This year, Marchant said Pickens County (6-0), which was ranked No. 1 in Class 2A in the Alabama Sports Writers Association poll last week, needs Curry at safety or at linebacker.
“It concerns me, but you just have to let him play,” Marchant said. “He has earned the position, and he is a very good defensive player. He wants to play defense. He loves it. I know when I played football I loved it, and it would have hurt me not to do it.”
Curry played on defense in the spring and knew going into the offseason he would be expected to start on both sides of the ball this season. He used that time wisely to get himself into top shape so he would be ready for the challenge.
“Last year, I really didn”t work too hard,” Curry said. “I guess you could say I did enough to get by. This year, I am tired of settling for less. We”re trying to do something Pickens County has never done before: Win a state championship. I am trying not to let the seniors down like I did last year. I tried to increase my reps and the weight I was lifting (in the offseason), and I tried to increase my speed in conditioning. I would do extra running to help push myself and make myself better.”
Curry said he and his teammates aren”t satisfied with their fast start. He said improved team chemistry will help the Tornadoes realize their goal this season of winning a state championship.
To do that, Curry knows he and his teammates will have to prove some people wrong.
“Every night I feel like I have something to prove and the team feels like it has something to prove,” Curry said. “I am going to help the team as much as I can, so anything I can do I am going to do it and go 110 percent every time.”
Curry started playing quarterback in the middle of his freshman season. He said he has improved as a team leader but still has plenty he needs to work on. He feels the same way about his play on defense.
“I love both, but I like defense more because I love the contact,” Curry said. “I love to bring the pain.”
Marchant hopes the prospect of starting at quarterback and at safety/linebacker motivated Curry to work harder in the offseason. He also feels Curry”s maturation from his 10-grade year to this year played a big part in his preparation for this season.
“I think he has played well,” Marchant said. “He, like all of our other players, have room for improvement. The big thing is they keep striving to be better football players.”
Marchant knows the Tornadoes have to keep improving because they haven”t won anything. He said it is great that the team is undefeated, but he would prefer to be undefeated in December over being undefeated in October any day.
Marchant hopes Curry will continue to be one of many solid leaders on the team who works hard to help the Tornadoes realize their goals. He said Curry is maturing as a quarterback and is learning to trust his abilities.
“Sometimes he depends too much on his athletic ability. A lot of quarterbacks have that problem, especially when they”re young,” Marchant said. “They try to get outside of their reads, but a lot of times he makes great plays for us, too.”
On defense, Marchant said Curry has a knack for being around the ball. Curry did a little bit of everything Friday, throwing touchdown passes of 77 yards touchdown to Keith Hall, 64 yards to Maurice Gray, 46 and 81 yards to Dominique Jones, and 16 yards to James Adams.
“He has such a good arm that sometimes kids have a hard time catching the ball,” Marchant said.
Curry also scored on an 80-yard touchdown run and returned an interception 9 yards for a score.
Marchant said the most exciting thing about Curry and all of the Tornadoes is they have such a big upside.
Curry, who wants to go to college to will go to study business management or engineering, will do his best to play his part and help the Tornadoes bring home some hardware.
“We”re going to surprise everybody,” Curry said. “As of now, a lot of people don”t see that in us, but we have the talent, we have the team, we have the bond we can accomplish that goal (of winning a state title).”
Adam Minichino is the former Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.