CHANNEL 2 SPORTS ZONE GAME OF THE WEEK: WALTON AT LASSITER
Quarterback Eddie Printz Jr. had the best seat in the house last year as Hutson Mason set passing record after passing record for Lassiter High. But now Mason has taken his golden arm to the University of Georgia and it’s Printz that is expected to pile up the yards and points for the Trojans.
Printz was a freshman backup last season as Mason set state records for passing yards (4,560) and touchdowns (54). What’s more, Mason did it while leading Lassiter to an undefeated regular season and its first and only region championship. The Trojans (12-1) eventually lost to Colquitt County in the Class AAAAA quarterfinals.
Now here comes Printz, and the similarities between the two players are remarkable. Like Mason, Printz stands 6-foot-3 and weighs in at just under 200 pounds. Printz’s arm, they say, may be a little stronger. And while Lassiter has undergone a coaching change — Jep Irwin replaced Chip Lindsey – the Trojans are still chucking the ball all over the place out of the spread.
“I’ve coached for 16 years and I haven’t had a kid with as much ‘arm talent’ as Eddie,” said Irwin, a 17-year coaching veteran who came to Lassiter this year from Pelham, Ala.
Likewise, the expectations for Printz aren’t any different than they were for Mason. Even though he is just a sophomore, fans expect Printz to play like his predecessor.
So far that hasn’t happened.
“It’s not my biggest concern,” said Printz, who has thrown for 673 yards with 8 TDs and 4 interceptions in four games for Lassiter (2-2), which takes on rival Walton tonight in the Channel 2 Sports Zone Game of the Week (7:30 p.m., Comcast 248/Charter 126; 1 a.m. replay on WSB Ch. 2). “My biggest concern is to win games. I’m not worried about replacing Hutson. He was a great quarterback, one of the best in Georgia history. Hopefully I’ll be as good as him. But this is a new year, we’re in a new division and have a new coaching staff. That’s all in the past.”
Said Irwin: “You can’t replace Hutson Mason. His job is to be the best Eddie Printz he can be. I think he has a chance to be a great player. He’s getting better each week. But he can’t be Hutson Mason.”
Not that he doesn’t want to be. Mason and Printz are close. Mason took him under his wing last season and still talks to him via phone or social media at least once a week.
“Oh, yeah, he’s helped me a lot,” Printz said. “He’s given me a lot of pointers. You know, ‘when they do this, do this.’ He’s a good guy to look up to.”
Fortunately for Printz, he hasn’t had to learn a whole new system amid the coaching change. Like Lindsey, Irwin is a self-professed “Tony Franklin cult member” who employs the pass-happy spread offense.
“It’s pretty much the same thing,” Printz said. “I’d say about 70 percent of it is the exact same.”
Meanwhile, recruiting is already picking up for Printz. He was invited up to Clemson for the Miami game on Saturday. He’s already been to Georgia, Georgia Tech and Tennessee and is planning trips to Florida and South Carolina.
Other than the trips, Printz said, he couldn’t tell you much about recruiting.
My dad handles all that,” he said. “If I received a piece of mail he’d hide it from me. He’s keeping it away from me and I think that’s a good thing. He doesn’t want me to get a big head. He wants me to concentrate on what I can control and that’s trying to get better every day.”