Daevon Anderson, Kory Taylor and Trey Warner have been making catches all over the field for the Hilliard Bradley High School football team. Now all they need is a catchy nickname to go with the numbers they are putting up.
"A couple different people have called us 'The Three Musketeers,' but I'm not sure if it's really a nickname," said Warner, a 6-foot-3, 205-pound junior. "We just go out and play."
Anderson (6-3, 180) and Taylor (6-5, 215), both seniors, are split ends while Warner roams the interior. Anderson (624 yards, 5 touchdowns) and Taylor (450 yards, 4 TDs) both have 32 receptions and Warner has 19 catches for 189 yards and two scores.
Last season, Taylor suffered a season-ending foot injury on the first drive of the opening game, leaving Anderson and Warner to reel in passes from quarterback Will Phillis, a 2017 graduate who was named Division I state Offensive Player of the Year. Anderson had 77 receptions for 1,070 yards and 15 touchdowns and Warner had 52 catches for 565 yards and three scores.
"Having three receivers who have pretty good hands and who are good route runners makes things tough on defenses," said Taylor, who runs 40 yards in 4.48 seconds.
"It also opens things up for the running game. We have really good running backs along with our really strong offensive line, which has been able to outwork people. We may not be the biggest, but we have the hardest working line in Ohio."
Juniors Grant Buehl and Jack Richards have split time at running back. Buehl has rushed for 325 yards and five touchdowns on 67 carries, and Richards has run for 301 yards and five scores on 53 carries.
Coach Mike LoParo said having three receivers as talented as Anderson, Taylor and Warner forces opposing defenses to make choices.
"We see teams try to bracket one of them or two of them and that means they take a guy from the box," said LoParo, whose team is 6-0 for the first time in program history and is averaging 36.5 points. "When they do that, it opens things up for the running game. It makes things easy for the offensive coordinator because all he needs to do is see how they consistently line up and what they are going to do to try to stop it.
"All three of them are tough. They all block well, they run good routes and they catch the ball. To have three kids like that is a luxury."
Senior Josh Stewart has taken over at quarterback this season. The transfer from Worthington Kilbourne said it took time to get his timing down with the receivers.
In a season-opening 55-20 win at Findlay on Aug. 26, Stewart was 15-for-21 passing for 211 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions. Since then, he has thrown 11 touchdowns and only interception.
"I think that (lack of timing) showed in the opener," said Stewart, who has completed 91 of 146 passes for 1,334 yards. "That was a tough game because we weren't timed up the way we needed to be. I think we have it down now. We work a lot on footwork and timing in practice, and I think I have (the timing) down to get (the ball) to them."
Bradley, which plays Friday, Oct. 6, at Watterson, improved to 2-0 in the OCC-Cardinal Division with a 42-7 win over Dublin Scioto on Sept. 29.
Stewart was 7-for-11 passing for 197 yards and three touchdowns against the Irish. Anderson caught four passes for 93 yards and two touchdowns, and Taylor had two receptions for 63 yards. Warner did not have any receptions.
"It's just great having three of us because our quarterback can get the ball to any of us and we can get the job done," said Anderson, who runs a 4.4 in the 40. "This year, we move the ball around way more. Last year, I had 77 catches and Warner had 52. This year, we are all pretty close to each other in catches."
With all three being 6-3 or taller, they become a handful for smaller defensive backs. They also have the speed to separate from linebackers who drop back into pass coverage.
"We have size and speed and that helps us going against the smaller (defensive backs)," Taylor said. "If they put a linebacker on us, they are taller but also a little slower. It's always fun when I'm out there with a linebacker covering me."
Warner said the Jaguars find ways to exploit defenses with their passing game.
"I think the defenses are so worried about slowing down the passing game that they spread out more and are like 10 yards off the line on every play," said Warner, who returned a punt 66 yards for a touchdown in a 42-6 win over New Albany on Sept. 1. "That opens things up for the running game.
"If Kory's having a great game and they want to double-team him, then I know Daevon will be open on the other side and can do great things. If they focus on the outside, then me and (tight end) Zach (Hummel) will be open in the middle. We have a lot of options."