Every season on GPB’s Football Friday’s in Georgia, we have the privilege of watching some of the best players in the state of Georgia and possibly, the country. Last season, in my opinion, was the year of the running back with the likes of Norcross’ Alvin Kamara and Walton’s Tyren Jones. This year, however, could be the year of the quarterback.
After watching North Cobb’s Tyler Queen and McEachern’s Ty Clemmons duke it out this past Friday, I was reminded of the many wonderful quarterbacks we’ve seen this year.
The quarterback position is thought of by many as being the single most important position on the field. After all, the QB touches the ball on practically every snap and with the takeover of the spread offense, quarterbacks have the ability to orchestrate the pace and direction of the game like never before.
So far this season, we have had the pleasure of watching football artistry at work with the likes of Hayden Sphire, Deshaun Watson, Will Anderson, A.J. Bush and, of course, the aforementioned Tyler Queen and Ty Clemmons.
With High School football in particular, a handful of outstanding players can be the difference between a subpar season and a title shot. When those outstanding players happen to be your quarterback, the overall trajectory of your program can change. These young men are undoubtedly the catalysts for their teams and they are also the ingredients that give their respective teams a shot at the ultimate goal: winning a championship.
I’m sure we’ve all heard it said that big-time players make big-time plays in big games. That adage has rung true this year as each of the previously mentioned QBs has shined when it’s mattered most.
Here’s a look at how some of the state’s best QBs have fared on Football Fridays:
Ty Clemmons: The McEachern Sr. has showcased himself well on GPB this year having appeared 3 times. Clemmons has rushed for 3 TDs and has thrown for 4 in those three games combined. In his most recent game, last Friday versus North Cobb, Clemmons carried the Indians with two long TD runs in the fourth quarter. He also added a 52 yd TD pass to T.J. Rahming in the 3rd. The Indians fell 2 points short, losing 28-26 but Clemmons solidified himself as one of the best dual threat QBs in Georgia.
Hayden Sphire: The North Gwinnett Sr. has played on the big stage twice this season. In the Bulldogs' first appearance on GPB, it was North Gwinnett’s defense that got the job done, scoring 18 of their 35 points to beat Grayson. It was quite a different story against Norcross in Week 3. Sphire threw for five touchdowns, including four to WR Nate Brown to bring the Bulldogs back from a 17-10 halftime deficit to beat the defending state champs 36-17.
Deshaun Watson: The Gainesville Sr. is considered by most to be the state’s best player and although he had an off game versus Buford, he’s been one of the most electrifying players I’ve ever seen. If you want to know what he can do on the big stage, look no further than last year's 5A state championship game on GPB against Ware County. Watson accounted for five touchdowns, two on the ground and three through the air, to lead Gainesville to their first championship since 1925. Watson holds the Georgia record for most passing yards in a career. We’ll all be seeing him on an even bigger stage next season, as the senior is headed to play football at Clemson.
Will Anderson: The Lassiter Sr. has only had one opportunity to be on your TV this season but he made the most of it. Anderson threw three second half touchdown passes including two to WR Quincy Perdue, to lead his Trojans past region rival Walton in Week 6. Since then, Lassiter has really hit their stride. They now sit tied with Etowah atop Region 5-6A.
A.J. Bush: The Norcorss Sr. transferred from Milton in the offseason. Bush and the Blue Devils got off to a rough start dropping their first two games of the season. Since then, Norcross has regained the form that saw them go 15-0 and win their first ever championship in 2012. Bush has rounded into form over the last few weeks. He rushed for three touchdowns and threw for another in a 28-0 win over Collins Hill. That performance on GPB proved that the sky may be the limit for the Blue Devils again in 2013.
Tyler Queen: The North Cobb Jr. has been phenomenal this year. We got our first glimpse of the Auburn-bound signal caller this past Friday night against McEachern and he did not disappoint. In what was perhaps the most exciting regular season game we’ve ever had on Football Fridays, Queen threw for two touchdowns, including a five-yard TD pass to Devin Granville with 7:18 to go in the game to give the Warriors the lead for good. The 6’3” 230lb QB outweighs his biggest offensive lineman by 20 pounds. His comfort level and poise in the pocket are second to none. Their 28-26 win over second-ranked McEachern puts the Warriors atop Region 4-6A and in position to pick up where they left off a year ago when they advanced to the state semifinals for the first time in school history.
With three weeks to go in the regular season and eight weeks to go before we begin crowning champions, there’s plenty of time and opportunity to see who will step up next. With each passing week, the weather will get colder and the pressure will intensify and GPB will be right there to walk high school football fans through every minute of the action. I don’t know about you, but there’s no other place I’d rather be!