|OC duo get fresh start at new program |
|Posted: Thursday, February 2, 2012 7:00 pm |
| By KEVIN WEAKS |
Trey Phipps and Mason McGrew are about to make some history.
They both hope history treats them well.
The two Obion County Central seniors signed scholarship papers Wednesday afternoon to play football at Lindenwood-Belleville in Illinois, just across the Mississippi River from St. Louis.
It will be the first year of football for the NAIA independent, and the new program is jumping in with both feet.
Having hired a proven program builder in Jeff Fisher, the team will open its first year of competition in the fall with a full varsity schedule that will include seven NAIA teams and two NCAA Division II opponents.
“It’s a new program, and I’m looking forward to helping start a program and set a standard,” McGrew said. “I’d like for people to look back 10 years, 15 years from now and see that we were part of something positive.”
Positive was the feeling Phipps got from his visit to the school.
“Everybody in the program is upbeat and excited about the future,” he said. “There are good people on the staff, and I feel confident in the players coming on campus. There’s a great energy and excitement on campus.”
The Rebel duo is certainly enough to get Fisher feeling upbeat.
“We’re really excited to get both of them,” Fisher told The Messenger in a phone interview Wednesday afternoon. “They’re both fine young men to help start our program, and they are good students.”
Fisher comes to Lindenwood-Belleville from McKendree, where he helped establish that program in 1996 serving as offensive coordinator.
Fisher indicated he is impressed with the two players’ maturity level and football knowledge.
“Trey is an exciting kid to have at quarterback,” Fisher said. “He throws a good ball, and he will be the epitome of a player who knows the game. Mason is a very good receiver. He has good hands, he separates well and he’s a good blocker.”
Phipps threw for 3,013 yards and 38 touchdowns this past season, completing 173-of-258 passes. McGrew had 43 catches for 871 yards and nine TDs in the 2011 campaign.
“It was the best fit for them,” Rebel head coach Shawn Jackson said. “They run the spread, and both will be able to fight for jobs immediately. The facilities there will be second to none. They care about winning. And, when you get a degree from there, you have something.”
Among the selling points on the school, in addition to its academic reputation, was the $2.3 million being spent on the football stadium, which will feature field turf that alternates every 10 yards with the school’s crimson and gray colors.
Phipps is also excited about being close to St. Louis, a city he said is where he’s wanted to live since he was eight years old.
Both are undecided on their choice for majors, McGrew leaning to exercise science. Published in The Messenger 2.2.12