Two players who have been offensive stalwarts for the Royals this season to complement the achievements of quarterback Tyler Baty include Joey Hall and Patrick Laird.
While Hall, a wide receiver, has been a consistent force beating the secondary downfield for impressive gains all season, Laird has really turned on the jets of late in the running game.
Baty and Hall have connected on at least one touchdown pass in every game this season and they’ve recorded passes of 72, 70, and 63 yards as Hall has racked up more than 1,200 yards receiving.
Hall credits his quarterback and the expertise of coach Chad Henry for assisting in his
development as a player, saying Henry, a former Cal Poly quarterback, has “helped me exponentially.”
“He simplifies everything with his system and allows you to react on the field instead of having to think too much,” Hall said.
Hall is a player with excellent sprint speed. And Henry said a big difference in the passing game this season has been the receivers’ ability to read defenses better and take advantage of gaps in the secondary.
“While I think Tyler had that ability last year to read defenses well and make adjustments, I think our receivers are doing a much better job of noticing what defenses are throwing at them and knowing where to be instead of running right towards a guy,” Henry said.
Joining shifty runner Michael Cardwell in the backfield, Laird has been a beast running the ball with a more downfield style, Henry said.
Laird averages 14 yards per carry. He had 178 yards against Flintridge Prep in the second round of playoffs and then 198 against Salesian last week.
“I’m really trying to get through that first level of lineman and using good blocking to get as much as I can after that,” Laird said. “It’s pretty instinctive to try to run as fast as you can and get to the goal.”
Perhaps one of the most versatile players on the team, Laird also has seen playing time at wide receiver and as a defensive back — which makes conditioning a priority for maintaining enough energy late in games.
“The way we practice, we kind of set up a lot of game-like situations and that really helps with conditioning,” Laird said. “The way we practice, we tend not to get tired in games.”