Vertical is a term that both Colleyville Heritage and Grapevine football fans should start getting to recite with frequency in 2015. Each program has a specialist who can stretch the field.
How each emerged is its own story.
Colleyville Heritage sophomore Ke’Von Ahmad and Grapevine senior RalphLauren McCauley had electric debuts in the first week of the season. Ahmad had three receptions for 125 yards and two touchdowns against Abilene. McCauley had nine receptions for 154 yards and two touchdowns against North Crowley.
Of course, each has a quarterback who can find him. Ahmad is working with junior left-hander Cam Roane. McCauley it teaming with sophomore Alan Bowman.
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The following breaks down each who could have a chance to produce 1,000-yard seasons.
Ahmad: The move-in from Ponte Vedra, Fla., didn’t arrive until Colleyville Heritage’s first day of practice (Aug. 10). But he brought a cache of speed. He carries a 4.4 40-yard dash time and a personal best of 10.76 in the 100.
Ahmad (6-0, 185) already has the attention of several Southeast schools including Florida, Clemson, Florida International, Florida Atlantic and Georgia. Oklahoma and Baylor are also starting to become familiar with him. He doesn’t have any offers. But when you’re averaging more than 41 yards per reception, that should catch some people’s attention.
When Ahmad arrived, the first one to meet him was Roane. Within moments, the two starting playing pitch and catch to become familiar with one another. Time will unveil more chemistry, but there were glimpses in the Aug. 21 scrimmage against Arlington Lamar followed by Abilene.
In the scrimmage, the two hooked up on a rout down the near sideline. The 25-yard play finished when Ahmad found a way to snare the pass between two defenders on what should have been an incompletion.
Against Abilene, the 52-yard touchdown pass developed on a post pattern. The Eagles secondary started to pinch down on the slant patterns. It was time to go up top.
“Coach [Joe Willis] just looked at us and said, ‘Let’s see what we can do,”’ Ahmad said. “Cam just put it up and I ran to go get it. When I got it, I just ran away from everybody. It was a pretty good feeling to step in.”
But it’s new for Roane dealing with the rest of the receiving corps. He moved into Colleyville from Grapevine Faith in time for spring football and basically has had to get to know every receiver in this offense. Plus, he understands that the receivers have to get to know him throwing with a different trajectory.
“Really, with most of the players, it’s been timing,” Roane said. “We just have to keep communicating with each other of knowing where to be and when to be there. There are some great things to work with.”
McLauren: Grapevine coach Randy Jackson said in the offseason he wanted to find more ways to get the ball to the receiver, nicknamed Polo, because of his ability to make plays in the open field. Following his performance against North Crowley, McCauley is already more than halfway beyond his 2014 receiving total. He finished with 313 yards.
The 79-yard touchdown reception off a screen followed by the 29-yard touchdown grab in double coverage were just examples of what can be expected.
“On the slip screen, he just made an amazing play,” Bowman said. “It’s Polo. He’s going to make more yards after the catch. What can you do? What can you say?”