GREENBRIER — Anyone who has been around Greenbrier knows the names of Neal Burcham and Hunter Winston.
Now, the rest of those who follow Arkansas high school football are hearing about them.
Burcham, a sophomore quarterback with a 20-to-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio, threw for 330 yards and three touchdowns on 21 of 34 passing attempts in the Panthers’ 56-33 victory over Morrilton last Friday. Winston, the Panthers’ scoring threat out of the backfield, had his most balanced game of his junior season. Winston tied a school record with six touchdowns scored in a single game, which was set by D.J. Vinacco in 1995.
Winston finished with 186 yards rushing and four touchdowns on 15 carries. He also hauled in nine passes and two touchdowns for 141 yards. Winston’s performance last week, along with Burcham’s numbers, brought the Log Cabin Democrat’s Co-Players of the Week honors to Greenbrier.
"Neal is our trigger man, and it’s been great having a quarterback like him, someone who can see the whole field," Greenbrier coach Randy Tribble said. "If the defense is doing something then Neal sees that, and he’ll take advantage of the defense. It’s nice having a quarterback like him so we can do the things that we need to do in the passing game."
Tribble continued, "Hunter is an awesome running back, and he’s awesome out of the backfield catching the ball. He’s right at being our leading receiver, along with Tyler Hardee. Neal is distributing the ball and Hunter is our running game. Both of those guys have been huge reasons why we have been successful on offense."
"Honestly coming in, I didn’t expect us to be putting up the numbers that we have, and it’s been fun seeing how we execute on offense," Burcham said. "When we execute, good things happen and that’s what we’ve been doing. I just try to go out and do anything I can do to help the team win. It also helps when you have time. Having a run game has also helped out in the passing game."
Burcham said, "We got some guys that when they get the ball, then they can do something with it. Having that confidence in them to make plays, really gives me the confidence that I need."
Winston said he’s a fan of a few running backs in the National Football League, including New Orleans Saints’ back Reggie Bush and LaDamien Tomilson, a former league MVP for the San Diego Chargers.
"I watch a lot of football," Winston said. "A lot of what I do just comes from instincts when I played when I was young. The line did a good job of blocking. It would’ve been nice to break it, but I needed to stay healthy and not risk injury."