Hughesville’s Jase Wright preparing for an injury-free season
Officially Jase Wright is listed as a running back and linebacker. Really, though, the Hughesville senior does everything.
Wright is a four-year starting linebacker and also has been among the team’s leading rushers and receivers the past three seasons. The Spartans can essentially line him up at any skill position other than quarterback. He runs well, has good hands and is a versatile defender.
Once he is on the field, Wright goes all over it. Now the goal is keeping him on it.
Wright has been hampered by injuries in each of his first three seasons. Outside of a shoulder injury suffered in Week 3 last year, most injuries have been nagging muscle-related ailments. Wright is one of the area’s players to watch as Hughesville opens its season at Mifflinburg Friday and if he can avoid those pesky injuries, he could be poised for his best season yet.
“It’s something every year. It’s so much like flexibility issues. I’ll be good and then I pull a hamstring. It’s probably more my fault than everything,” Wright said. “I am trying to prepare my body better and am hoping to avoid those muscular injuries.”
So is Hughesville.
Wright could be the workhorse as Hughesville returns to the Wing-T offense it ran from the 1990s until 2014. Despite missing three games last season, Wright ran for a team-high 486 yards and four touchdowns. He played one of his best high school games in a Week 2 win at Central Mountain, rushing for a career-high 158 yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries as Hughesville won, 31-13. The Spartans finished 2-8 and it is not coincidental that a seven-game losing streak started after Wright injured his shoulder in the first quarter the following week against South Williamsport in a game the Spartans took an early lead.
He returned to the defense before he could resume offensive duties, but Wright did give the offense a spark in the season-opening 35-29 win against Muncy. Despite missing time, he also caught 16 passes for 230 yards.
“Running between tackles is a strength. He’s very strong and he put in a lot of time in the weight room,” quarterback Jacob Corson said. “You can pound the ball up the middle and do things to the outside as well.”
“I like moving around on offense,” Wright said. “It keeps everything fun, doing something different. It’s nice always being involved.”
Wright has tried increasing his flexibility throughout the offseason and is hoping yoga will help thwart the injuries. The 6-foot, 220-pounder has good size and speed and he is a player defenses must account for any time he is on the field. That is why it is so important he stay on it this season as Hughesville tries returning to its winning ways.
Hughesville has some quality depth in the backfield so Wright can be utilized coming out as a receiver, in the slot or even as a tight end if called upon. As a sophomore, he ran for 422 yards, caught 20 passes, totaled 621 yards and scored five touchdowns. He also is a good blocker who understands the game well and provides Hughesville a good foundation to build upon.
“He’s so versatile and can do so many different things,” Corson said. “He can catch a swing pass and break tackles and take it to the house. He can run routes like a receiver and has some of the best natural hands on our team”
“He’s a workhorse and he’s kind of a swiss-army knife. He can do anything,” two-way starting lineman Zane Gee said. “You can spread him out and he can run a route and catch a ball or you can hand it off and he goes up the middle. He has some speed to get outside and he’s a good weapon.”
Versatility is Wright’s calling card and that is not limited to offense.
Wright is the team’s most experienced defender and shined as a freshman starter in 2015 when Hughesville went 9-3, beat defending district champion Montoursville and reached the District 4 Class AA semifinals. He has good instincts and attacks the ball well, while also being able to drop back and provide solid pass coverage. Wright broke up three passes last season, had two sacks as a sophomore and has recovered three fumbles during his high school career, including in the dramatic Muncy win last October.
“He helps a lot on defense. If it wasn’t for his injuries he could have had 100 tackles every year,” Gee said. “He has the speed to cover anyone and he can really get to the ball and make the stops.”
What Wright hopes to stop more than anything is past injuries. He has been thinking about this senior campaign pretty much since that Muncy game ended. This is his last chance at scholastic glory and an opportunity to let the district know what Hughesville already does.
More important, Wright wants to set a tone and make Hughesville one of the area’s premier teams once again.
“It’s my senior year and you have to lead. That’s your job,” Wright said. “I want to be a leader.”