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Drew, Forest Park clash in big game

Quarterback Brandon Pearson, left, and running back Marquis Terry have been two of Drew’s standouts on offense. Pearson has passed for 1,082 yards in the first four games. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)

Quarterback Brandon Pearson, left, and running back Marquis Terry have been two of Drew’s standouts on offense. Pearson has passed for 1,082 yards in the first four games. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)

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Drew coach Jarrett Laws says his team can’t afford to overlook Forest Park when the teams meet tonight at Southern Crescent Stadium in the Region 4-AAAAA, Div. A opener for both teams. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)

RIVERDALE — Drew got two things it desperately needed heading into the beginning of its subregion schedule — a win and the return of its starting running back.

The Titans escaped with a 35-34 win at Starr’s Mill last week. It was also the return of Drew junior running back Marquis Terry, who had been out since the start of the season with a wrist injury.

Terry rushed for 141 yards and a score on 25 carries.

“He picked up right were he left off last season,” Drew coach Jarrett Laws said. “There were bursts in the game where he looked like his old self. He gives us a balance to our offense.”

In one game, Terry has become the team’s second leading rusher heading into the Titans’ Region 4-AAAAA, Div. A opener tonight against Forest Park at Southern Crescent Stadium.

To show the importance of Terry to the team, sophomore Quarderman Sloan is the team’s leading rusher with 143 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries. After Terry went down during preseason drills, Laws decided to use a running back by committee approach.

It was a method that worked last season when Terry split playing time with Lester Knauls, Jordan Metts and Tracy Gaston to combined for 2,366 yards and 28 touchdowns. Laws had hoped to use that same approach this season, but Knauls and Gaston went down in the spring with injuries, and Metts transferred to Riverdale.

Terry earned the starting job, but sustained a wrist injury a couple weeks prior to the start of the season. He was being held out the first three games to get him ready for the subregion schedule.

“It was awesome being back out there,” said Terry, who rushed for 570 yards and eight touchdowns last season. “I had a lot of fun out there.”

And equally as important, the team got a win to improve to 1-3 on the season.

Laws is hoping the return of Terry takes some pressure off quarterback Brandon Pearson, who has been one of the offense’s top producers. He enters tonight’s game with 1,082 passing yards and eight touchdowns with only four interceptions.

“As a quarterback, you want that running threat,” Pearson said. “It is definitely going to help the offense. Marquis hasn’t lost a step. He looked good running the ball.”

Players say the win has definitely increased their confidence in an injury-riddled season.

“We got that monkey off our back with the win,” Pearson said. “We just got to keep working hard. The season starts new now with the subregion. We still have a shot at making the playoffs.”

The run to the playoffs begins against a Forest Park team that has also struggled this season under first-year coach John Diehl. Forest Park is 1-4 with its lone win against Morrow on homecoming.

But Laws said his team is not in a position to overlook anybody.

“Coach Diehl and I go back to our days of coaching in Florida together,” Laws said. “They are going to be prepared. I know what type of preparation he puts into the game. We have the potential to be a good team. It is just a matter of us putting together four good quarters of football. The team has high spirits, and that is a good place to start.”