Mike Gibbons believes his new running back can do exactly what his last name suggests.
Just a sophomore, Anthony Shivers is already good enough to make opposing teams shake in their boots.
“He gives us a lot of hope,” Gibbons said.
Shivers absolutely dominated freshman football last season for Tempe McClintock. The jump to varsity is a huge one, but Gibbons believes his young back is capable.
“I know we’re asking a lot out of a sophomore,” Gibbons said, “but this kid has unbelievable ability. He has just about everything you want in a running back. Great vision, great feel for blocks, he makes cuts, makes would-be tacklers miss. We haven’t seen anything this spring or summer that would lead us to believe he can’t do it on the varsity level.”
So there it is, before Shivers has taken a snap on the varsity level.
“I don’t mean to hype him,” said Gibbons, before he went ahead and did it again. “He just has the work ethic, the attitude and the ability to be as good as he wants to be. And he’s going to be good.”
Shivers will need to be, because McClintock lost most of its offense from last season. Quarterback Kelly Kurzman graduated, as did leading wide receiver and rusher Malcom Martin.
Eric Urry will be the new signal caller, a more mobile version than the drop-back Kurzman.
The defense will be led by junior linebacker Hayden Tippett, who was fourth on the team with 66 tackles last season.
Once again, McClintock will have one of the conference’s toughest schedules, one that helped them make the state tournament last season despite a 4-6 regular-season record.
The experience helped the team upset second-seeded Glendale Cactus in the first round of the state tournament. Gibbons, in his second season at the helm of the Chargers, hopes the momentum sticks.
“It literally took us all year to find our groove offensively,” Gibbons said. “I really think it can carry over.”