Tallassee vs. Valley high school football

Valley's KD Hutchinson (2) carries the ball during the Tallassee vs. Valley high school football game in Valley on Oct. 4, 2019.

After starting the season as part of Valley’s talented running back trio, KD Hutchinson moved to quarterback. Despite the challenge of playing a new position and guiding the offense, the sophomore has shined as the Rams continue to roll toward a region championship.

Hutchinson has used his dual-threat ability to torch opposing defenses in the five games he’s played at quarterback. His work at the new position has helped the Rams bounce back from an 0-2 start to win five straight games.

Hutchinson showed out in Valley’s latest win by throwing for 135 yards and two touchdowns while also rushing for 116 yards and another score in a 34-12 win over Tallassee.

“When the team gets so much film on you, they know we’re real strong in the run game. We had to put the ball in the air. I feel like we did that, and that’s how we came out with this W,” Hutchinson said after the Rams’ latest victory. “They put me right there (at quarterback), and they expect me to make plays. It’s no second guessing — I’ve got to adapt to what I’ve got to adapt to.

“I’ve got to be a leader, so when they put me in a position I’ve got to take it head on.”

Valley head coach Buster Daniel said Hutchinson’s emergence at quarterback started at the beginning of the year. The Rams implemented a “Heavy” package in which Hutchinson played quarterback alongside starting running back BJ Baker in order to get two of Valley’s top athletes in the backfield together.

Daniel recognized fairly quickly that Hutchinson was growing more comfortable and gaining more confidence in the unfamiliar spot. Soon enough, Daniel turned the keys to the offense over to the sophomore and let him take the wheel.

Given Hutchinson’s big-play potential, Daniel had little hesitation in letting him stand behind center.

“He’s a great athlete, number one. He’s a great kid, and he’s very smart. He catches onto things pretty quick. It didn’t take very long to see he could handle the job and that he was going to be really good at it,” Daniel said. “When you’ve got a quarterback like KD in there with a running back like Josh Heath or BJ, it doesn’t matter. The defense can’t key on one or the other. They have to play true defense, sit there and read their keys.

“Having two guys back there in the backfield like that, it’s definitely an advantage for us.”

Daniel’s big focus with Hutchinson has been working on his arm, and that has been something the Valley coaches have emphasized each and every practice since the move. Hutchinson showed off those strides in the win over Tallassee, Valley’s fourth-consecutive region win.

Hutchinson made plays on the ground and through the air, which included completions of 33 yards and 37 yards to tight end Jaden Hamlin.

The last of those two throws was the perfect way to cap off the night, as Hutchinson threw the ball up for the 6-foot-4, 290-pound Hamlin, who out-jumped a Tallassee defender and scurried to the end zone for the first of two fourth-quarter touchdowns for the Rams.

Daniel stressed the importance of Hutchinson’ passing threat because he knows future opponents will key in on stopping the Rams’ dangerous rushing attack. Hutchinson has answered the challenge of playing quarterback; now, it’s just about improving to the point Valley can be a legitimate contender in Class 5A.

“The first two of games of the season we lost, but it wasn’t where we came back and was mad about it. We took on the next four games, and we’ve just been playing lights out,” Hutchinson said. “Every week, we’ve been saying, ‘We’ve got to get better and better.’ That’s where it started off at.”

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