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AJ's Sellers a good catch

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By Robert Howey

A season of 39 catches is an impressive receiving statistic.It takes greater meaning when you toss in the fact the receiver – Andrew Jackson High School senior Justin Sellers – has done so with a broken bone in his right hand.“Justin’s heart is bigger than that pain in his right hand,” AJ receivers coach Alex Fair said. “He gives it all each Friday night. That’s just the way he is. Justin is tough and he’s been a solid player for us all year. He’s not your rah-rah guy, but he says plenty with the way he plays.”Sellers, 5-9, 160, has 39 catches for 703 yards and nine touchdowns this fall for the 5-5 Volunteers. His receiving prowess is no surprise after the four-year performer earned the Most Outstanding Receiver Award with Ryan Miller last fall when he had 40 catches, including five touchdowns.Sellers’ effort this season includes a school record-tying 10 catches in an earlier game with Conference IV-AA champion Central High School of Pageland.He’s also close to several school receiving marks for the Vols.“I’m pretty pleased with my play this season,” Sellers said. “I just try to do my part for the team.”Sellers, who also sees action on defense as part of the Volunteers’ nickel package, has two interceptions, 12 tackles, a batted down pass and one big hit.“Justin is a complete player and he’s going to contribute in any way he can,” Fair said. “He’s a heck of a player for us.”Sellers’ solid play isn’t limited to the football field as the three-sport performer also plays basketball and baseball at the Lancaster County Class AA school.His play this fall has given rise to a solid Vols’ receiving corps.“Justin has set quite an example for the younger players to follow when he moves on,” Fair said. “He works hard in season, or the off-season because his time is limited since he’s a three-sport player at AJ. Before it’s all over, he is going to leave his mark on the Volunteers’ receiving records.”Fair said Sellers is a quality receiver for several reasons.“Justin has good hands and a knack for getting open,” Fair said. “He runs good routes and when the ball is near him, his eyes light up. Justin’s not the fastest, but he has deceptive speed. He is always in that attack mode, ‘thinking make the big play.’ ”The Volunteers, in the Class AA Upper State playoffs, hope to keep their season alive as they battle 7-3 Batesburg-Leesville tonight at the Panthers’ field.“If we execute and play hard, I like our chances,” Sellers said. “We’ve been in the playoffs in the past, but this year we’re a better team and more prepared.“We’re clicking better on offense because our quarterback (senior Daniel Pardue) is making better decisions, our line is blocking better and our receivers are getting more involved.”Andrew Jackson coach Louis Clyburn said much of it goes back to senior players like Sellers who have bought into the new AJ coaching staff’s philosophy.“Justin has taken coaching and responded to it in a positive way,” Clyburn said. “Sometimes that’s hard in a transition from one coach to another.“As our season has gone on, he’s gotten better. In the last few weeks, Justin has caught fire.”He hopes to finish in an orange blaze of glory.“We’re looking forward to Friday,” Sellers said. “We feel we have a shot to win. As coach Clyburn says, if we execute, we have a chance to win. It comes down to playing hard and good, solid execution.”