He’s still a young quarterback, playing for the Kasson-Mantorville fifth grade Black team in Minnesota. But you can’t blame AJ Donovan if he looks ahead from time to time.

I’m learning how to run the veer offense like our high school team,” he said.

Successful high school football teams rely heavily on strong feeder programs, and developing the varsity quarterbacks of tomorrow is critical.

As he continues to make impressive strides under center playing for his middle school team, look for Donovan to start attracting increasing notice from the Kasson-Mantorville High School varsity coaching staff.

Strong start

As for now, Donovan is off to a strong start for the Komets, who started the season with a 4-1 record. “We want to win our league tournament,” he said.

In Kasson-Mantorville’s fifth game, Donovan was a perfect 6-for-6 passing for 80 yards and 2 touchdowns. And, already showing he’s comfortable in a veer offensive system, he rushed 5 times and gained 50 yards.

“I want to be the best quarterback in the league,” Donovan said.

Now in his fourth year playing football and his second season playing tackle, Donovan has little doubt he is playing the right position.

Duel success

Why does he like QB so much? “Because it is the best position in all sports,” Donovan said.

Attending his first Duel in July, Donovan showed he is one of the best fifth graders in the country with a third-place finish. “It was a great experience,” he said. “I wanted to finish in the Top 5 and be in the finals.”

Having accomplished those goals in NFA’s national competition held at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium in Massillon, Ohio, Donovan carried the successful showing into his current season with Kasson-Mantorville Black.

“It gave me confidence that I could do anything heading into our season,” he said. “And it also helped my confidence by knowing that all of our high school coaches kept talking about it with me and I knew I could perform under pressure.”

While he is well advanced at option reads out of the Komets’ offense and throwing the football with accuracy and distance, Donovan is still young and working hard to improve his overall game. “I’m working on getting faster,” he said.

Training with NFA since March has helped the young quarterback become even more effective.
“Learning the R4 system has been been big for me,” he said. “Our team uses that system and knowing the R4 has helped me in making decisions. I can’t wait to work with NFA again this winter.”