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Joey Fussell Jr. celebrates a touchdown against Klein Oak
VYPE caught up with Spring RB Joey Fussell Jr. after an outstanding performance against Klein Cain in the 6A-D1 Playoffs Area Round last week. He had a chance to discuss that game, his development with the Lions, and how he is preparing to face Duncanville in The Star
VYPE: First of all, you had the game of your life last week against Klein Cain. In that game, you had 202 total yards and six touchdowns. What was the key to your performance in that game?
Joey: When we walked into that game, we thought we were going to be throwing the ball a lot, and when that wasn't the case, we put in the wildcat package. We had previously used that against The Woodlands and this time it just kept working, so we just kept running it. Coach Miller just happened to call my number a few times and I made my plays.
VYPE: It seems like Spring hasn't used the wildcat package all year, how has that come about in the last few weeks?
Joey: Well actually, we didn't even create the package until the week we faced The Woodlands, and I was kind of shocked, because that was the same week I found out that I'd be starting. So we went through it in practice a little bit, and my coaches were pumped up about it, so I'm just glad they gave me that opportunity.
VYPE: You were featured a whole lot more this year (56 carries) than you were in the 2020 season (18 carries), how have you handled that change in pace?
Joey: Last year, I had just transferred to Spring and I wasn't really familiar with the plays, so this year I just kind of focused on learning the plays and having the coaches start to trust me. This year, I've just been glad to be touching the ball because I knew I could do it, it was always about getting the opportunity and having Coach Miller and my teammates trust me with that.
VYPE: You mentioned that you transferred into Spring ahead of your junior year, what was that whole process like?Joey: The process was pretty smooth, I've been knowing some of these guys since elementary school, played against them in middle school, AAU basketball, 7 on 7, baseball, you know, things like that. Some of the guys really didn't know how I played when I came in, they didn't know if I was good or not or if they could trust me yet, and I proved to them that I could play through the first few practices, and that's when they welcomed me in.
VYPE: Let's take it back to earlier this season when you all dropped your only game of the season against Westfield. What changed in the locker room and at practices after that game?
Joey: Our mindset going into the Westfield game is that because we did it last year, we were gonna do it again this year. We weren't focused, we thought we had already won the game before it even started, and that made us realize that we have to live in the moment, take one game at a time. Right now, we're focused on executing plays in the first half, from the start, so that we don't have first half struggles like we did against Westfield.
VYPE: Well, it seems like you guys just keep getting matched up against storied programs. First you get The Woodlands, and then Klein Cain, and now Duncanville. What has the focus in practice been to prepare for Duncanville?
Joey: Well, we've watched a lot of film and focused on playing real Spring Football, so you know, I feel like if our defense plays like they're capable of playing, and the offense plays like they're capable of playing, we can really go out there and beat this team. At the same time, we can't knock 'em, they're a great team, but it's just about executing plays, we don't have to play a perfect game, they're a very beatable team, so we'll just go out there and execute.
VYPE: Sounds like a plan, we wish you the best of luck against Duncanville this week, and hope to talk to you soon
Joey: Thank you, I really appreciate it
SPRING - Heading into this week for Trent Miller, the emphasis for his Spring Lions' team was to play fast.
They answered the call of their head coach.
In the opening 10 minutes and two seconds of Thursday's showdown with Klein Oak, Spring punched in four scores - a nine-yard and 40-yard run by Bishop Davenport and then 14 and 25-yard touchdown passes from Davenport - to blow it open to a 28-0 lead at the end of the first quarter, eventually leading 42-0 at the half en route to a 49-0 victory at Planet Ford Stadium to move to 2-0 on the year.
"We got started real fast," Davenport said with a smile. "It started in the locker room and even on the bus ride it got started. We just came out here ready to go. I feel like we're just getting started. I can't even compare it to last year."
VYPE 🎥 Highlight 🏈@SpringFootball rolls past Klein Oak 49-0 to move to 2-0 behind @bishoptheQB 7 TD performance & stingy defense #txhsfb (@KPRC2RandyMc @Bailee_BishopTv @HendersonGerrod @Cadyn_Bradley @sims_tjay @Myron7Carter @IAMJoeyFussell @SpringISD @CoachTMiller18) pic.twitter.com/59S1JAzjHb— VYPE Houston (@vypehouston) September 3, 2021
Davenport finished the game 13 of 20 for 306 yards, five touchdowns and 75 yards rushing with two scores. In total, 381 yards and seven scores for the Utah State-commit.
What was even more impressive about Davenport's five passing scores is that they went to four different wide receivers (Cadyn Bradley - 2, Myron Carter, Joey Fussell Jr. and Joshua Lopez).
"We've got talent everywhere," Davenport said.
It wasn't only the offense that came out firing on all cylinders.
The defensive unit, anchored by defensive lineman Gerrod Henderson Jr., forced a fumble (forced by Bruce Davis and recovered by Elijah Fields) and an interception (Jeffery Foster) in the first half. The crew did not allow Klein Oak (1-1), which was without starting quarterback PJ Hatter on Thursday, to gain a first down on its first few drives and held the Panthers to 52 total yards of offense for the game.
"The defense was fired up tonight," Miller said. "We got Bral'on [Jones] back this week. When he's in with his energy, we always have a chance for big plays. Not just with him but with everybody on that field. Going back to last week in that 38-17 victory we felt like we allowed too many points.
"So, an emphasis this week was playing fast, hitting hard, rallying to the football and not giving an inch. Tonight, I think they did a good job of doing that."
VYPE Postgame: @SpringFootball QB @bishoptheQB went OFF tonight for 306 yards passing, 75 rushing and 7 total TDs!! #txhsfb (@KPRC2RandyMc @Bailee_BishopTv @HendersonGerrod @Cadyn_Bradley @sims_tjay @Myron7Carter @IAMJoeyFussell @SpringISD @Perroni247 @texashsfootball) pic.twitter.com/ThtcYV82k1— VYPE Houston (@vypehouston) September 3, 2021
Spring has raced out to a 2-0 start to the 2021 season, averaging 43.5 points per game, and the Lions look to be firing on all cylinders out of the gates.
"We feel really good about where we're at right now," Miller said. "Again, we were a little frustrated last week and I think a little bit of that has to do with knowing what we're capable of being and from a coaching standpoint our expectation was to start this season how we finished last year. We weren't quite there yet.
"I think we took a lot of good strides in the right direction tonight, so we're looking forward to keep this boat moving in the right direction."