As NFA Nation grows in size and skill, memorable head-to-head quarterback matchups are becoming more and more common.
Who can forget last season, when NFA veterans Brett Kean of St. Edward and Mitch Guadagni of Hudson High School squared off in the Ohio Division 1, Region 1 state championship game?
St. Ed’s got the best of Hudson, and Kean is now playing at the University of South Florida while Guadagni took his game to Toledo.
Also last season, rising NFA star D’Andre Weaver II from Oak Ridge High School in Orlando, Fla., matched up against East River’s Tanner Heard in a district showdown game, and the duo combined to pass for 608 yards and 6 touchdowns.
This season, two more up-and-coming NFA quarterbacks matched up with fairly typical results.
Battle of Offenses
Late last month, Brownsburg East Middle School played Zionsville West Middle School during an eighth grade game in suburban Indianapolis.
Behind quarterback Orin Edwards, Zionsville prevailed 46-32 over QB Brayden Davis and Brownsburg.
Davis completed 12 of 19 passes for 228 yards and 5 touchdowns while Edwards connected on 11 of 16 passes for 189 yards and 4 touchdowns while rushing for another score.
“It was a blast,” Davis said of the game. “It was kind of like a battle of offenses with passing touchdown after passing touchdown. It was a lot of fun.”
Said Edwards: “It was a great game. It was a lot of fun, really fun. It was a back and forth game. Brayden would throw a touchdown pass and then I would throw one.”
Davis and Edwards live in neighboring towns, and they played against each other as seventh graders. This summer, they got to know each other better at an NFA camp.
“Getting to know each other like we have, the game is more like a rivalry,” Davis said. “We talked after (last month’s) game and asked each other about how many touchdowns we had and how we did.”
Look for the duo to continue pushing each other to get better as they progress into high school football.
“We were really competing against each other the whole game this season,” Edwards said. “I know my goal was to have more touchdown passes than he did and he had the same goal.”
Through seven games with Brownsburg Middle School, Davis has completed 49 of 85 passes for 859 yards and 12 touchdowns, good for a 112 passer rating. He has also rushed for 3 TDs.
“I think I can do a little better, but I feel pretty good about the season,” Davis said. “I usually check down to the same side, so I’m trying to be more open to the field, see both sides of the field.”
Davis, a 5-foot-10, 136-pounder, has been playing quarterback for eight years and he continues to elevate his game. “Playing defense, I always switched around,” Davis said. “On offense, quarterback has just been my favorite position. You feel like you’re the leader and it’s fun to get the play calls and always be next to the coaches. And as a quarterback, you have to be able to get close to your teammates and lead the offense.”
Over the last two years, Davis has polished his QB skills while attending five NFA camps. “NFA has been a big help,” he said. “They completely changed my form.”
Eric Davis, Brayden’s dad, has also been impressed with NFA. “ I had some people come up to me last year, and they asked, ‘What did you do to him?’” Eric said. “I had to laugh. It was totally NFA that built him up to what he is now.”
Like Davis, Edwards has had a great eight-grade season, passing for 12 touchdowns and rushing for 3 through seven games with Zionsville West.
“I think my accuracy has gotten a lot better this season, and my spiral is also better from last year,” Edwards said. “I’ve also been able to throw the ball a lot farther with accuracy. Last season, it was more like throwing it to a spot.”
The 5-foot-10, 140-pounder can throw the football 40 yards, and Edwards already has the perfect mentality for playing quarterback.
“One of my goals has been keeping all of my receivers included,” he said. “I know some of my receivers only have one catch or so on the season, so I want to try to keep everyone included. Being a leader on the team, you have to make sure everyone likes you and you keep everyone involved.”
Edwards will be a freshman at Zionsville High School next year. “Not many freshmen play on the JV team, but that’s my goal,” he said. “I hope to play JV. If I do play freshman football, I want to go undefeated.”
Edwards started training with NFA this summer and has already benefited from participating in two camps.
“They always preach about getting your arm to zero and getting your arm around fast,” Edwards said. “That’s already kind of become routine for me. I watch the film from our games and I don’t even notice it during the game, but my elbow is always getting to zero. They’ve also helped my accuracy a lot.”