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CMS plans ‘to turn Peyton loose’

by Bryan Rice | September 14, 2023 at 4:03 a.m.
Cutter Morning Star quarterback Peyton Mills looks for a pass against Fountain Lake Oct. 21, 2022, at Eagle Field. - Photo by Krishnan Collins of The Sentinel-Record

Rose Bud comes to Garland County Friday to challenge Cutter Morning Star's Eagles for a homecoming shootout.

"After watching film and diving in, there are some mismatch issues they had with (Augusta)," Cutter Morning Star head coach Nick Finley said. "They do a really good job with their play action. I think there are some areas that we can take advantage of. You have to execute and not give up big plays. I think you put yourself in a position to win. I feel like we can compete and take care of business if we do not have big plays, turnovers, which we did last game and it did not work out for us."

Last week Corning bested Cutter Morning Star (1-1) at home 32-22.

Junior quarterback Peyton Mills will be ready to fly Friday night.

"I think it is a goal every week," Finley said, "to turn Peyton loose."

Mills threw for 2,122 yards and 23 touchdown passes last season, and he only played in six games.

"We are going to take what they give us," Finley said. "I know with his numbers last year everybody is expecting him to have a really big number year. We are definitely capable. Corning came out in something we had not seen yet. We were not prepared and it was bringing a lot of pressure. Everyone is going to be doing that to us now, which we have it fixed.

"We will be hitting it in practice and a little bit more as we move forward. What we do offensively is going to be just an execution thing. The big thing there is Peyton obviously had a career low of 180 yards, but at the same time he is motivated, determined but not just him, our whole team. That is where everything I preach to them was, 'You got to learn how to win and you got to learn how to continue to win.'"

Finley emphasized Mills' evolution at quarterback from last season to this season.

"As much as he is getting blitzed this year, I thought his presence in the pocket and actually starting to see downfield a lot better than what he did last year," Finley said. "His mobility is definitely faster. He is about 3 inches taller than he was last year and he is a little bit stronger.

"As he grows, his game is going to elevate and this is the first game he really had to get his legs going to get a pass down the field. There are some plays where I thought he was tackled, he ended up getting a throw off and scoring a couple of touchdowns. He can make things happen. It takes a full team effort, they are going to push him and he is going to push them. I am looking forward to seeing how we bounce back from this."

Mills puts in the extra work to try to make it to the next level and has started the recruiting process.

"Peyton actually took an official visit to UCA this past weekend, interested to see how that turns out in his recruiting," Finley said. "Peyton is one of those where he is going to do extra. He is going to extra cone work, drill work and he will set aside time with friends to be able to get that stuff done. He wants to be successful and when you ask that of a kid, 'Hey, how good do you want to be?' Nobody has to push them, they just go and try to get it done and put the extra work in. He does that on the side and the results are definitely paying off."

Finley said Mills has multiple targets to choose from in the early going of the season.

"It has been different each game," Finley said. "Isaiah Mahone is one. By play calls, I really like to work the ball around and get everybody involved. Each receiver brings something different. Jackson Duncan, our tight end Asher Livingston and there are several others that have had a touchdown or more this year. It is pick your poison and next man in. That is what we are trying to do."

Cutter Morning Star gets to play at home again after the loss, giving the Eagles home-field advantage against the Ramblers (0-2).

Finley said Cutter Morning Star has to bounce back after its first loss of the season.

"The big thing there was after watching film and really looking at it all weekend it was ourselves," Finley said. "We have nobody to blame but us for allowing three big plays that set up touchdowns and a fumble in the end zone for them to recover. It is one of those things, you take those big plays away, in the second half our defense stepped up really big. We had a couple goal line stops."

Finley highlighted the importance of a consistent offensive and defensive line for the Eagles to have success.

"They have got to be a lot better," Finley said. "I have been telling them all year long since offseason. We are going to win or lose games by our offensive and defensive lines. We have got to really step up."

It will be Rose Bud versus Cutter Morning Star at 7 p.m. Friday at Eagle Field.

Print Headline: CMS plans ‘to turn Peyton loose’


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