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POTW: Ben Pettus

Don’t look now, but Ben Pettus is growing up. Well, at least in some ways. He is still the same laid back goofball he has long been. But as a quarterback, Ben Pettus is not at all the same player he was six weeks ago.

Granted, the junior has always had the tools to succeed. That is why Tom Causey had no qualms about installing him as the starter in the preseason. That is why his top four receivers – all seniors – have complete faith in him.

And Friday night in Selma, Demopolis fans had their first real opportunity to see all of those tools come together. Pettus was on his game.

He was comfortable in the passing game. He was sharp in the Tigers’ option game. His passes were crisp and his reads even more so.

Pettus appeared in control from the outset, leading the Tigers’ first team offense to touchdowns on all but one of its possessions. That drive ended in Pettus’ only blemish of the game, an interception that caromed off of his receiver before finding a Selma defensive back.

Through the air, Pettus went 10-of-15 for 225 yards and two touchdowns. Oh yeah, and the Tigers’ leader connected on a two-point conversion pass as well.

But it was on the ground where Pettus showed the most growth. The most crucial part of Causey’s spread offense may come in the option portion. Pettus’ ability to execute his reads, make decisions quickly and give or pull the ball cleanly determines how effective the Tiger ground game will be.

Friday night against Selma, Pettus took care of that responsibility almost flawlessly. Aside from making the right reads on plays that helped Damarcus James again hit the century mark, Pettus made the right call on a few keepers as well. The DHS point man carried the ball five times for 60 yards on the night. Included in that group was a play in which Pettus flashed some speed and knifed right through the heart of the Selma defense for a 32-yard touchdown run.

All total, Pettus accounted for 285 yards and 20 points in the Tigers’ third region win of the season. And if Pettus can continue to develop at this rate, the Tigers just may find themselves playing deep into postseason.

Either way, one thing is for certain. That shortstop who happens to play quarterback for Demopolis is looking an awful lot more like a quarterback who also happens to be a shortstop.