When it comes to Liberal High School’s football team, conversation always surrounds Jade Cathey, the premier wide receiver in the Western Athletic Conference.
The leading receiver in the WAC in 2009, Cathey ranked atop the charts in receptions (41) and yards (701) while scoring seven receiving touchdowns, tying him with the graduated Allen Holt of Great Bend for tops in the conference.
Cathey, who currently leads WAC players in receptions (33), yards (559) and touchdowns (8) through five games, is a major concern for Great Bend, which travels to Liberal tonight.
“He’s a talented individual and has had a solid year for us so far,” Liberal head coach Wade Standley said of the 6-foot-5, 200-pound Cathey, who is being recruited heavily by Kansas State. “There’s no question that he’s a go-to player for us. We move him around a little bit.
“He’s a solid commitment to K-State right now.”
For the first time in recent memory last week, a 38-14 loss to Garden City, Cathey didn’t find the end zone, although he still had over 100 yards in receiving, totaling six catches for 102 yards.
While Great Bend defeated Garden City 21-13 three weeks ago for its lone win of the season, the Redskins are still looking for their first victory in the WAC.
“I think they had success running and throwing the ball against us,” Standley said of the Buffaloes. “We had four turnovers in that game that beat us.
“I’ll expect the same thing that we always do from Great Bend, a hard-fought game. Coach (Bo) Black and those guys do a tremendous job there, they’re a well-coached football team and that’s what we’ll expect.”
Like any other team, Cathey can’t do it by himself. His teammate, Tyson Deaton, ranks No. 2 in the WAC in receiving with 467 yards and also No. 2 in receptions (29) while scoring three touchdowns.
“They’ve got some other guys that can catch the ball, too,” Black said in reference. “Cathey is a big, athletic receiver that’s 6-5 and very strong. He’s a playmaker.”
Liberal quarterback Slader McVey leads the WAC with 1,294 passing yards. He has completed 90 of 153 passes for 58.8 percent accuracy, fourth in the conference.