Ten players have at least one reception for the Indian Creek football team so far this season.
Standing tallest, both literally and statistically, is junior Bryce Hogue.
Listed as 6-foot-3, 174 pounds, Hogue leads all Johnson County players in receptions (15) and receiving yardage (223) as the Braves prepare for tonight’s Mid-Indiana Hoosier Conference game against visiting Class 2A No. 6 Eastern Hancock.
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Hogue’s contributions as a freshman (12 catches, 191 yards) and sophomore (27 for 413 and five touchdowns) foreshadowed the fast start he’s enjoying this season.
“Bryce has come through our system and even played some as a freshman. All of a sudden he’s our go-to guy, so he gets to show off his skills,” said Indian Creek coach Mike Gillin, who watched Hogue snag eight Gynson Robley aerials for 125 yards and two scores in last week’s 27-21 loss to Greenwood.
“He understands receiving and the way we teach it. Bryce is very smart, and I think his speed is more of a factor, too.”
According to Hogue, he was timed last winter doing a time of 4.47 seconds in the 40-yard dash and might be slightly faster this season.
He admits the ability to shift into a gear opposing defensive backs often can’t duplicate is a nice option to have following a reception.
“If I can get in the open field I can turn on the jets,” Hogue said, who counts posts and fades as his favorite routes to run. “I usually line up to the right. Against Greenwood they started shading to my side pretty good.”
Expect Eastern Hancock and every Braves opponent after it to employ similar defensive strategy.
This benefits teammates such as 5-10 junior Parker Osborn and 6-foot senior Elijah Dunn, who so far have 12 and six catches, respectively.
Indian Creek has thrown for 542 yards this season on 45 completions (40 by Robley and five from sophomore backup QB Taylor Voris). The ground game has yet to get untracked with 95 yards on 42 rushes (2.3 average).
Hogue doesn’t care who gets the football as long as the Braves are moving the chains and producing touchdowns.
“We have good depth at receiver, and I want my teammates to have opportunities, too,” he said. “I don’t want to be an all-me player. As long as we win.”
Hogue also is Indian Creek’s starting free safety. He has made four tackles. He returned an interception 75 yards for a touchdown in the Braves’ 41-20 win at Knightstown to open the season.
Being a frequently targeted receiver in some respects shapes how Hogue approaches playing in the defensive secondary. At the same time gaining experience as a defender benefits his receiving.
It doesn’t hurt to be catching passes from a quarterback who takes the field tonight having completed 66 percent of his career passes (221 of 357) for 3,481 yards and 40 touchdowns.
“Gynson’s passes are always right on the money, but as a receiver I am still trying to improve a lot of different things like my route running and stock blocking,” Hogue said.
“Being a receiver is a lot more than just catching the ball, but I love it all. I just love the game.”
THE HOGUE FILE
Name: Bryce Hogue
Family: Parents, Bill and Sharon; sister, Brittany, 30; brother, Drew, 27
Favorite TV show: “Prison Break”
Favorite food: Chinese
Favorite movie: “Cast Away”
Favorite athlete: Calvin Johnson
Favorite team: University of Alabama football