Marc Morris may be willing to bend a bit on what he wants at other positions.
At quarterback, however, Morris knows exactly what he wants … and Matt Beale fits the bill.
“Our offense is one driven by the quarterback, no matter how you want to look at it,” Morris said. “We throw a lot at him, and he takes it on. We’re happy to have him.”
A three-year starter, Beale has completed above 50 percent of his passes for 923 yards and six touchdowns this season. He’s been about as dangerous with his feet, the Carolina Forest signal caller rushing for 562 yards and another four scores.
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It’s all a part of being in an offense engineered by Morris, whose goal is to stretch opposing defenses through brute force and mental savvy.
“Our philosophy is to run first and play solid defense. But that isn’t to protect (Beale) or because he can’t throw … because he can definitely do that,” Morris said. “But we have a good one in him. This is something he has prepared for, worked hard at. We’re proud of the strides he’s made in three years, and hopefully he still has heights left to take us.”
According to the Carolina Forest quarterback, some of the credit goes to discipline and a willingness to take on multiple tasks at once.
A lot of it is about making time. That’s why after a basketball game, maybe 10 p.m. I’ll go to the batting cage and get some swings in. Or maybe during weight lifting class, instead of lifting I get some throws in and work on mechanics.
Carolina Forest multi-sport standout Matt Beale
“It takes a lot of work to play three sports during the course of a school year,” Beale said. “I can tell you my mom is always stressing to me about the importance of homework. But I tend to make it work.”
In addition to football, Beale letters in basketball during the winter, with spring reserved for baseball. While some of it is done to merely stay in shape, he believes the juggling act actually helps him in each endeavor.
“It can be tough when they overlap, you know from football to basketball and basketball to baseball,” he said. “A lot of it is about making time. That’s why after a basketball game, maybe 10 p.m. I’ll go to the batting cage and get some swings in. Or maybe during weight lifting class, instead of lifting I get some throws in and work on mechanics.
“You have a lot of people that say you should play one sport. I tend to like doing it this way because it helps me better display my athleticism, but also work on it.”
Recent studies tend to agree with Beale’s assessment.
Last year, a study by the University of Wisconsin researchers in conjunction with the National Federation of High School Associations found that athletes who specialized in one sport were more prone to injuries than those in multiple ones.
In the study, 1,500 male and female athletes among 29 Wisconsin high schools were divided equally. Researchers found that lower-extremity injuries occurred nearly twice as frequently to single-sport participants than athletes in multiple sports.
As football season nears its end, Beale is already peeking ahead to basketball season … though not too much. He still has goals for the Carolina Forest football team he hopes last well into the first few weeks of basketball practice.
Ahead of Friday’s showdown at Sumter, the Panthers are 5-2 and 2-0 in Region 6-5A play.
“For a few weeks, it seemed we were just trying to find ourselves a bit,” the Carolina Forest quarterback said. “But I think we are getting it together at the right time.”