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South offense will be up tempo

07/09/2014, 1:35pm PDT
By John Maffei

With talented QB and receivers, the ball figures to be in the air Friday


Receivers JT Barnes (from left) and Christian Brooks of Grossmont and Iman Chatman of Mater Dei Catholic are keys to the South team’s up-tempo offense. Misael Virgen photo

PREP FOOTBALL
What: North vs. South in 24th annual Alex Spanos All-Star Classic
Who: Top graduated seniors from the 2013 season
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Where: San Diego Mesa College
Tickets: $10 adults, $5 juniors
Last year: South won 41-7

********************

EL CAJON — There are three priorities for receivers at a Grossmont High football practice.

"Catch the ball, catch the ball, catch the ball," said Christian Brooks. "Those are the priorities - one through three."

Brooks caught 92 passes for 1,250 yards and 12 touchdowns last season for the Foothillers. He, teammate JT Barnes and Mater Dei's Iman Chatman of Mater Dei figure to be the big three targets for South quarterbacks Anthony Lawrence of Grossmont and Serra's Hunter Correll in Friday's 24th annual Spanos All-Star Game at San Diego Mesa College.

Grossmont coach Tom Karlo and his staff will coach the South team and Karlo promised to run the same high-octane offense that averaged 438 yards and 44 points a game last season.

"The most fun I've had in sports is playing for our coaching staff in this system," Barnes said. "It's complicated. And there is no way a group of all-stars can grasp everything in 10 practices.

"But we're running around, having a lot of fun here.

"Friday won't have the same pace as a Grossmont game, but we'll play up-tempo. That's for sure because we have some really talented guys."

Barnes, who caught 52 passes last season, is headed to San Diego State.

Chatman, who is headed to New Mexico State, averaged nearly 20 yards a reception.

Brooks will play next season at Southwestern College.

Lawrence, the trigger man at Grossmont is the most-prolific passer in San Diego Section history. He'll play at USD.

Correll will play with Brooks at Southwestern.

"Last season, me and JT knew we were going to get the ball a lot, and it was a blast," Brooks said. "We really worked hard, but we had a lot of fun, too."

Grossmont did very little conditioning during practice.

Instead, the Fooothillers were asked to run everywhere in practice.

"Tempo is everything in my system," Karlo said. "You play like you practice, so we practice hard, practices are up tempo."

The South team practiced like its hair was on fire, but Barnes chuckled at that thought.

"We're going pretty quick for an all-star game," Barnes said. "But it's nothing like what we do during the season.

"Coach Karlo will tell us we need to run X-number of plays in a 15-minute period. And we better hustle and get them run.

"In the all-star practice, Coach Karlo wants to see how many plays we can run in a certain period.

"We'll be up-tempo in the game, but with a little caution, too."

In addition to Brooks and Barnes, the other South receivers are Chatman, Calvin Crockett (Serra), Vincent Parrish (Madison), Daniel McManus (West Hills) and Jovon Richardson (Mount Miguel).

Chatman, though, is the player that excites Karlo.

"He's a talented guy," Karlo said. "Our offense is pretty hard to grasp in a short time, but Chatman has done a good job picking it up.

"He'll get his chances Friday."

The main focus in the Grossmont offense, Barnes said is to run good routes.

"But you better catch everything, too," he said.

john.maffei@utsandiego.com

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