PHEBA — Prior to the start of the 2014 football season, Hebron Christian School coach David Foster approached starting quarterback Channing Tapley and told him what signal callers everywhere love to hear.
“I said we’re going to throw the ball a lot more this year,” Foster said. “We have got a good group of receivers and Channing has a strong arm. I figured if we could block well enough, we’d have a chance to be successful with the pass.”
Judging by Tapley’s performance Friday in Hebron Christian’s 30-6 victory against Calvary Christian School in Mississippi Association of Independent Schools eight-man play, Foster made the right decision.
Tapley, who also plays baseball and basketball at the school, turned in his best outing as a starting quarterback, going 10 of 14 for 161 yards and a season-high four touchdowns. He also rushed twice for 13 yards and converted three two-point conversions. The 6-foot-2, 218-pound junior also switched from his normal defensive position at defensive end to middle linebacker to help shut down Calvary Christian’s running game and had a game-high 15 tackles.
“I like the contact,” Tapley said with a smile. “It felt good going out there playing well on offense and defense. Playing middle linebacker helped me stay in the flow of the game.”
For his four-touchdown, 15-tackle masterpiece, Tapley has been named The Dispatch’s Player of the Week, the first such honor of his career.
“We’ve got good receivers and the line blocked great,” Tapley said. “I was just trying to do what I could to help the team win.”
Tapley did all of his damage in the first half. His efforts helped the Eagles build a 30-6 halftime lead, which forced a running clock in the second half. Tapley threw two touchdowns in each of the first two quarters. In the first quarter, Tapley connected with wideout Landon Hill on touchdown passes of 27 and 45 yards. He hooked up with Hill again on a 28-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter.
Hill caught six passes for 120 yards and three scores.
“He’s a big target,” Tapley said. “I love throwing to him.”
Tapley added a 12-yard touchdown pass to Brian Eaddy to help Hebron Christian improve to 2-2.
“He did a good job,” Foster said. “We are usually a running team. That’s our identity. But with Channing and these receivers, we want to pass it some more this year. He’s a good kid and a good football player.”
Follow Dispatch sports writer Brandon Walker on Twitter @BWonStateBeat