Deep Into Summer, QB Picture Remains Unclear for Dreadnaughts
Wed. July 11, 2012 at 2:07 a.m. | By Solange Reyner
From left, Aaron Johnson, Coach Bill Castle, and Isiah Walker (Photo by PIERRE DUCHARME | THE LEDGER )
By SOLANGE REYNER
LAKELAND | It looked like rain would be a certainty Tuesday night at Bryant Stadium, where Lakeland High School hosted Armwood High School for a 7-on-7 football scrimmage.
Sure enough, about five minutes in, small drops of water started to come down.
On the field for Lakeland, the decision as to who would take the reins as the team's next quarterback seemed as hazy as the smattering of grey clouds above, an oddity for longtime head football coach Bill Castle.
Castle, the coach for the past 36 years, can't recall the last time the competition at quarterback dragged on this deep into the summer. Schools start practicing with contact in one month and kickoff classics take place two weeks after that.
"We've always had competition, but it's been cut and dry," Castle said. "It's been a while going this far not knowing who our starter is."
Of course, last year, senior Raheeme Dumas was thrown into the role when Jadrian Clark, the starter, was ruled ineligible by the Florida High School Athletic Association. Clark was the clear front-runner, though, and Dumas was supposed to start on defense in the secondary.
This year, Castle said there's no front runner yet except that Isiah Walker, a senior, "is a little bit ahead in the department of being a leader and knowing what to do on the field in certain situations."
Aaron Johnson, a sophomore, is battling Walker for the spot.
Both threw picks against Armwood but also connected on deep passes. Castle says they're both mobile and run well with the ball but need to be more consistent when it comes to throwing.
There are other starting spots open, too, "you name it, they're open," Castle said — but the quarterback position seems to be the point of contention considering how much responsibility the person there has every game.
Neither player is backing down anytime soon, though.
Walker said he should be tabbed the starter because he's got the skills to do it and he's got leadership qualities, a trait he said he picked up from his mother, a preacher at St. Paul AME Church in Lake Alfred.
"I'm loud and I get people to listen," Walker said.
"It's something that's been instilled in me."
Johnson said he still should be in the running because he's comfortable behind center.
"I was a quarterback when I was a Little League player and I know I can be successful there," Johnson said. "I really want to start."
[ Solange Reyner may be reached at email@example.com or 863-802-7526. ]