As an eighth grader at Ni River Middle School in Spotsylvania, Va., in 2016, Charles Mutter III was back at quarterback, but it was his first season playing tackle football after beginning his career at the flag level.
“It was different with the pads on,” he said. “A lot different.”
At the end of the season, Mutter was blunt about he performance. “It was a little shaky,” he said. “I wasn’t happy. And I wasn’t training with NFA at the time so I didn’t really know how to ready defenses. I didn’t know about formations, and my mechanics were terrible.”
With help from local friend Madden Lowe, who has been training with QBA for four years, Mutter decided to get more serious about the game. He attended his first camp in March and was immmediately motivated by QBA President/Founder Darin Slack.
“QBA, they kind of woke me up,” Mutter said. “I learned plays, worked on my mechanics and really improved my arm strength. They helped me out a lot.”
Mutter dedicated himself to becoming the best QB possible, practicing multiple times a week after intially training with QBA in Charlotte. He attended two more camps and also began CrossFit training to build strength and endurance.
As he prepared for his freshman season at Riverbend High School, Mutter was a vastly improved quarterback. “I’m really happy,” he said.
Mutter received an invite to the Duel in July, and he wound up placing third among incoming freshmen.
“Madden talked a lot about QBA and the Duel,” Mutter said. “I knew how good he was, he had the mechanics and everything else. Going into the Duel, I didn’t know how I was going to to do. I had really dedicated myself to getting better, so I put 100 percent effort into it and was hoping to finish in the Top 5.”
He accomplished that goal, and he also competed in the Team USA National Development Games at Arlington, Texas this summer.
The next challenge for Mutter was lining up as the starting JV quarterback at Riverbend H.S. Lowe is the Bears’ varsity starter at QB, with Mutter waiting in the wings.
“I’m pretty confident now,” Mutter said. “I feel confident as a quarterback and I’m going to try to lead my JV team even though I’m a freshman and they’re mostly juniors and sophomores. I’m going to try to lead. We don’t have a championship game at the JV level, but I want to help my teammates reach their potential. I’m also on the scout offense for the varsity defense, so I want to do the best I can to help the varsity defense reach their top potential.”
Mutter had a standout JV season for the Bears, throwing for over 1,000 yards and 14 touchdowns. He also rushed for over 500 yards.
Madden Lowe was presented with two challenging tests during the 2016 season. The freshman quarterback at Riverbend High School in Fredericksburg, Virginia passed them both with flying colors.
Lowe opened the season as the starting junior varsity QB and he guided the Bears to their best record (8-2) in school history.
“It was great,” Lowe said. “We started out the season with a loss but after that we grinded. It was so fun after that. We worked really hard.”
Even though he was a freshman playing for Riverbend’s JV team, Lowe never doubted his ability to be successful.
“I wasn’t surprised,” he said. “I was trying to be as confident as possible. But I could tell some people around me were sort of surprised. They thought I wasn’t going to perform as well as I did but I was just grateful. It was a great opportunity.”
Lowe’s season was not limited to his strong showing with the junior varsity Bears.
Tony DeMarco, Riverbend’s varsity head coach, was keeping close tabs on Lowe when he was playing quarterback at Ni River Middle School.
“I’ve known Madden for a while,” DeMarco said. “Ni River is our main feeder school and they ran our offense. I would watch their games when Madden was an eighth grader and think, ‘Wow, he’s making reads and getting the ball to the right people.’ Coming into this past season, I wasn’t sure who our quarterback was going to be. There was a period of time where I told our coaches, ‘Don’t be surprised if we start a freshman this year.’ They’re like, ‘What?’ I said, ‘Madden Lowe, I’ve seen the kid play, I know who he is, I know his family. I coached his sister several years ago at our school and she was just a great athlete. He is so grounded.’”
Lowe might have opened the 2016 season as the Bears’ starting varsity quarterback, but DeMarco didn’t want to throw the then 5-foot-10, 145-pounder into a battle he wasn’t completely prepared for from a physical standpoint.
“My kid (Jordan) was our quarterback in 2015, and he was 205 pounds,” DeMarco said. “He got sacked 10 times in one game and that’s still fresh in my mind. So I’m looking at Madden and thinking his body would not take that kind of beating.”
As Lowe gained size – he’s now up to 5-foot-11, 150 pounds – he also gained experience with the JV team and practicing with the Bears’ varsity team.
“I looked at it that if he practices with us, practices against the varsity as the scout team quarterback, he’ll understand the speed of the game and know he has to get the ball out quick,” DeMarco said. “I knew by him going against our varsity defense, it would improve his game as opposed to starting Game 1 for us and just taking a beating from Game 1.”
DeMarco’s patience paid off in a big way.
In the eighth game of the season, Lowe joined Riverbend’s varsity team and he made his debut in the fourth quarter. The Bears were clinging to a 14-13 lead against a solid Freedom High School team and Lowe drove them to the end zone twice in a 28-13 victory.
“I wasn’t expecting it,” Lowe said. “I was pretty nervous at first and then we drove down and got a touchdown. The sideline was wild after that. We came back and did it again to win 28-13. That was so much fun. It’s always going to be great memory.”
Lowe made more memories with the Riverbend varsity, which finished the season with an 8-4 record. In 5 games with the Bears, he completed 12 of 21 passes for 130 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also took the majority of the snaps in Riverbend’s two playoff games and didn’t turn the ball over while helping the Bears post their first postseason victory at home in school history.
“I was just blessed to get an opportunity to play varsity football for Riverbend,” Lowe said. “I’ve been watching games there forever and I was so blessed to play in a few of them. I thought it was a lot of fun. Riverbend has a great atmosphere, a great student section. It’s just so much fun to play in those games.”
Fortunately for the Bears, Lowe has three more years of varsity eligibility.
“Madden played very well for us as a freshman,” DeMarco said. “He doesn’t have the really big arm, but the deep ball is overrated. I have linemen that can throw the football 50 yards and they’re like, ‘Hey coach, put me at quarterback.’ Being a good quarterback is being able to make the reads and get the ball to the right people at the right time. Madden is able to do that, and that makes him stand above probably any freshman I’ve ever coached. He’s already shown he knows how to move the ball around the field, and that forces the defense to have to cover the whole field.”
For as impressive as he was as a freshman, Lowe is looking to be an even better quarterback as his Riverbend varsity career progresses.
“This past season, I wasn’t really expecting anything,” he said. “My goal was to perform the best I could and see where they were going to put me. Just perform as well as possible no matter what team I was on. For next season, I think preparation is the main thing. We’ve got to prepare because the best prepared team is going to win the game. My personal goal is to be the most prepared person on the field.”
Lowe has been training with NFA for three years, and that has helped him prepare to play varsity football at such a young age.
“NFA has helped me so much, throughout personal experiences, the speeches before the game, the selflessness,” Lowe said. “And with my mechanics, NFA really got me straight. I’ve never felt more confident when I throw the ball.”
As a freshman football player, Jared Icenhower was a dual threat for Point Pleasant High School this season.
On one side, Icenhower was the starting quarterback for the Big Blacks’ junior varsity team, which posted a 4-3 record.
“We did pretty well,” he said. “We didn’t start off very well, but we just kept building and we got better throughout the season. I liked how we became closer as a team and worked through the difficulties.”
On the other side, Icenhower played for Point Pleasant’s varsity, one of the top prep teams in West Virginia year in and year out.
In addition to playing QB for the varsity Big Blacks, Icenhower’s offensive skills also came into play at wide receiver.
“I’d switch in and out at receiver,” he said. “And at quarterback, a lot of games we were winning by quite a bit so I got in during the second half almost every game. I was confident when I went in there and did my job. I think I did pretty well.”
How good was Point Pleasant the last four years? How about a perfect 39-0 in the regular season with four straight quarterfinal playoff appearances.
Breaking in to such a strong varsity program can be a challenging task for a freshman, but Icenhower was more than ready to make the step up in class.
“Playing varsity, the speed was the biggest difference,” he said. “It’s so much faster playing varsity, and there’s more pressure. But I just told myself to relax and I did. I was confident in myself and I just went in there and played.”
The Big Blacks averaged almost 50 points a game while winning their first 11 games before falling to James Monroe High School in the playoffs.
“Tough loss,” Icenhower said. “But we had a great season. We’re pretty good. Our offense is really good. We play really fast. We run a hurry-up offense and score a lot of points.”
With Icenhower on the varsity for the next three seasons, look for Point Pleasant to remain a powerful program in the Mountaineer state for the foreseeable future.
“I think I’ll benefit a lot from the experience I got this season,” the 5-foot-11, 165-pounder said. “I was nervous at first, but once the nerves got out I started doing really well. I felt confident in myself and knew I could do it. I’ll keep going to camps and work on anything else I need to do. I need to gain more weight so I’ll lift weights and get stronger. I feel like this year kind of helped me get the feeling of what it’s going to be like. I’ll keep working hard at it.”
Icenhower has trained with NFA the past four years, a critical part of his impressive development as a quarterback.
“They have helped me tremendously,” he said. “I don’t even know if I would still be a quarterback today if it wasn’t for NFA. They’ve helped my overall game a lot and I’ve learned so many things from them.”
Before the season, Icenhower made his third trip to the Duel. He didn’t make the finals the first two tries but finished fifth among incoming freshmen in July.
“I wish I would have done better, but I was happy with how I finished,” Icenhower said. “I worked really hard at it in the off-season. I practiced my footwork and technique and I felt really confident going in. I just did it. It built up my confidence quite a bit. I just kept working on my game and felt like I really improved heading into the season.”
In the first game of the season, Woodgrove High School in Purcellville, Virgina lost to Champe H.S. 20-17 in overtime.
“That game was tough,” said Mike Kovich, Woodgrove’s starting quarterback. “We knew they were going to be pretty good coming into it. But I don’t know what happened; we just came out flat. I think if we see them again, we’re going to take care of it.”
The rematch would come in the playoffs, and there is little doubt Kovich and the Wolverines are going to be a dangerous draw for any team.
With Kovich improving every week as a junior, Woodgrove has rattled off five straight wins while averaging a staggering 44 points per game.
“As a team, I’m just happy to be as close as we are, honestly,” Kovich said. “We’re all just a big group of friends. The way that we’ve come together and the way that we’re going to come together when we start getting into the playoffs, it’s really going to be special.”
It hasn’t taken Kovich long to show he is a special QB. After getting some limited varsity snaps as sophmore, the 6-foot, 175-pounder won the starting job heading into his junior season.
While helping the Wolverines get off to a 5-1 start, Kovich has passed for 664 yards and 6 touchdowns while rushing for 450 yards and 4 TDs.
“Heading into this season, I knew we were going to have a prettty good team so I just wanted to be able to control the offense and pick up the tempo a little bit and make plays,” Kovich said. He has made big plays throwing the ball and running it as well.
“So far, I’m happiest with my rushing,” Kovich said. “I love running the ball. This offense gives me the ball a good amount and I think I make the most of my opportunities. I don’t think I’m the fastest guy (4.8 in the 40), but I love to hit, honestly. When I run, I’m not going to try to run away from guys. I’m going to try to run them over.”
Kovich’s ability to run and pass are big reasons why Woodgrove’s offense is so potent.
“We run a spread offense, a high tempo kind of Oregon/Auburn type,” Kovich said. “We actually have a bunch of different offenses. I think they found out I have the ability to run and they put some stuff in for me. I love the balance we have, and I think it really adds a dynamic quality to our offense because we can line up in six different formations and they never know who is going to get the ball. They don’t know what’s coming.”
Around the halfway point of his first varsity season, Kovich said he is not surprised by his high level of play.
“Not at all,” Kovich said. “I actually expected to play a little better. I think I’m making some pretty good decisions, but I also think I can make them a little faster. Each game I’ve progressed in getting a little more comfortable with the offense and with how I’ve been controlling things. I think by the time we get to the playoffs I’ll have complete control and I’ll be incredibly comfortable and I’ll be able to make split-second decisions.”
Kovich has been training with NFA since he was 9 years old. “Without NFA, I wouldn’t be half of what I am right now,” he said. “With all of the accelerators and all the mechanic work, they’ve been a tremendous help.”
Trey Brown builds off impressive Duel debut
Trey Brown has been playing football for eight years. He moved to quarterback at the age of 11, and now – in his fourth season at the key position – Brown has found a home behind the center.
“It’s an all-around fun position, and I really like playing quarterback,” he said. “I get to go out there and command the offense. Since I’ve been playing quarterback, I’ve really developed my leadership skills and I think that helps a lot. Plus, I like throwing the ball around.”
Playing the position is fun, but QBs must always deal with a tremendous amount of pressure to perform at a high level and win games. Brown is excelling in both areas.
Starting for Richlands Middle School in Virginia, the 5-foot-8, 145-pound eighth grader helped his team get off to a 4-0 start this season. Brown passed for 1,000 yards during the perfect start and threw for 12 touchdowns while rushing for a pair.
“We worked really hard to get ready for the season so it’s great to get off to a good start,” he said. “When I first started out as a quarterback, I was more run first and if I could get a pass off, that was great. I’ve really developed more into a pocket passer. But if a play breaks down, I can take off and run.”
Brown’s transition from a quarterback who is more dangerous throwing the football than running it has come with experience and hard work. He’s also gotten a boost from working with NFA over the past year.
“It’s been a great, great relationship,” said Glayde Brown, Trey’s father. “Living in a rural part of Virginia, there are not a whole lot of opportunities to get outside help. With the opportunities NFA has provided, he’s just flourished.”
In a good place
Brown attended his first Duel this summer and wasn’t quite sure what to expect after making the six-hour drive from Virginia to Massillon, Ohio.
“I wasn’t expecting to place,” he admitted. “I thought if I placed, that would be great. But I really just went in wanting to hone my skills and get better.”
Brown wound up finishing third among incoming eighth graders. “It boosted my confidence a tremendous amount,” he said. “And I’ve gotten more and more confident with each year I’ve played.”
With Brown putting up big numbers early, Richlands averaged 40 points game while racing out to a 4-0 start. “We should go undefeated, and that’s our goal,” he said.
His impressive showing at the Duel and early season stats aside, Brown is still working at improving his game. “I’m working a lot on my pocket presence,” he said. “It’s gotten better and I’m trying to keep getting better. My arm strength has also gotten better, but I keep working on it. I’ve been able to add about 10 yards on my passing distance.”
Looking ahead, Brown’s goal is to playing for the Richlands High School varsity as a freshman next season.
“It’s something I think I’ll be able to do, and there is a chance I can split time at quarterback,” he said. “It’s definitely a goal for me, and I’m going to keep working hard and trying to get better so I can reach that goal.”
Mikie Kovich gets the OpC4 edge
After quarterbacking Woodgrove (Virginia) High School’s freshman team to a 6-2 record this past year while throwing for 1,677 yards and 21 touchdowns and rushing for 614 yards and 7 more scores, Mikie Kovich can’t wait to compete for the varsity job next season. He will be very well prepared to make the push.
Kovich was one of 19 quarterbacks from around the country invited to NFA’s first annual OpC4 camp that was held in Tampa from Jan. 1-4. It was an experience he won’t soon forget.
OpC4 is built on the four key words that NFA believes reflect the best attributes of great quarterbacks and great men – Confidence, Character, Consistency and Commitment. The camp provided a tempo and installation challenge that would be similar to a college-level training experience.
“I loved it,” Kovich said. “I thought it was great. It was more advanced in the defensive sense than any other camp I’ve ever been to, learning how to look through the defense and know what to do. It was a great experience.”
All of the quarterbacks that went to OpC4 talked about how difficult the camp was, but in a good way. “It was crazy intense,” Kovich said. “We had to wake up early and when we were doing all of our drills and workouts you had to be intense or you just could not hang.”
As you’d expect, OpC4 was football intensive. But there was much more to the camp than high-level instruction playing quarterback and figuring out what the defense is trying to do.
Learning to lead
“We learned how to look at defenses, and we also learned a lot about leadership,” Kovich said. “We learned how to pay attention to the other guys. We even took notes on each other, and that allowed us to learn more about each other.”
Quarterbacks tend to be judged on their passing yards and touchdown totals, but leadership is an equally important skill. “I think leadership is more important for that (QB) position than at any other position in any other sport,” Kovich said. “If you’re going to be a good quarterback you have to be a leader or you won’t get the respect and the trust from your teammates that you need. If you want any kind of healthy relationship with your teammates, you’re going to have to lead them and they’re going have to trust you.”
The timing of the OpC4 camp couldn’t have been better for Kovich. As the 5-foot-10, 170-pounder prepares to make the jump from freshman football to the varsity, he learned many valuable lessons that should help him clear any hurdles.
“I think the OpC4 gives me a big head start,” Kovich said. “Nothing against the guy I’m competing with, but he didn’t go to the OpC4 camp and he didn’t learn the leadership and everything else I learned there. I think that definitely gives me an edge.”
Kovich can’t wait to get back on the field to prepare for his sophomore year. “I’m ready to go,” he said. “I’ve been ready since the end of last season. The season never stops, you know?”
One of the other 19 quarterbacks from around the country that participated in the NFA’s first annual OpC4 camp held in Tampa from January 1-4, admirably called Tyler DeSue “a freak of nature.”
The eighth-grader that many consider has the best all-around athletic package from the class of 2018 has definitely been turning some heads, and not just with the guys he plays with or camp coaches.
This past summer, before he even began the eighth-grade at Princess Ann Middle School in Virginia Beach, VA, DeSue received a college offer, but not just any college offer. The offer was from the highest public academic institution in his home state, the University of Virginia.
“Honestly, it was very surprising to get that offer,” said DeSue, who since summer has grown an inch to 6-feet, and put on a little weight to tip the scales at 170-pounds.
How does a boy so young react to something so huge?
“What went through my head was I need to stay humble and hungry and not sit back because I have an offer,” said the Honor Roll student that admits he “can do even better.”
What’s interesting is DeSue didn’t even start out as a quarterback.
“I was always the biggest kid on the team so I played everything but quarterback. Then, in the sixth-grade the coaches encouraged me after seeing my arm and I decided to try something new.”
Besides a college offer, DeSue has been impressive enough to have been one of two middle-school QBs to get an invite to the OpC4 camp – and he didn’t disappoint anyone.
This is the third camp DeSue has worked with Will Hewlett, the NFA Director of Player Development.
“DeSue has proven though film and camps that he’s not just one of the greatest athletes in the 2018 class, but a talented quarterback. Mature beyond his years, you will see why he already has an offer from UVA and will get many more,” Hewlett remarked.
What did DeSue think he had to prove at the camp, and what about competing with older boys?
“I felt I needed to show I’m not just a little kid, to exceed my level to do better, and to show some leadership. Being with older guys is nothing new to me. It felt really good to get to know all the guys.”
NFA Founder and President Darin Slack liked what he saw.
“Tyler is a unique talent as an eighth-grader. Having already been offered by a D1 school, it’s clear to see why they believe he is worthy of that offer now. He can really spin the football, and his athleticism is impressive. It’s just a matter of where he will play college ball, not if.”
How have his classmates reacted to all this fanfare?
“At first I didn’t even mention it. I don’t really parade around about it because I don’t want to sound cocky,” said DeSue, who in six games this past season for the Princess Anne Panthers passed for around 400 yards and five TDs and rushed for approximately 500 yards and 10 touchdowns. All-in-all he accounted for 104 of the team’s 132 points.
And what does he feel are his best attributes?
“My dual threat capability and my leadership on the field.”
Its not surprising that at a camp like the OpC4, where the level of talent is so high, leadership is high on the list of things DeSue got from the experience.
“I think I did pretty well. The camp helped me a lot, but the most important thing is it defined leadership for me like it’s never been defined before.”
Clark Wilson is ‘a football player’
A consummate team player, Clark Wilson had to wait his turn as a sophomore at Huntington High School in West Virginia. The Highlanders had a skilled senior quarterback, Mark Shaver, who walked on at Marshall University after graduating.
Rather than standing on the sidelines and holding a clipboard in 2012, Wilson started playing safety on the defensive side of the football and wound up earning First-Team Class AAA All-State honors. “My brain is at quarterback because I’ve been playing it my whole life, through youth league and everything,” Wilson said. “When I was a sophomore, we were missing a safety and they knew I was pretty fast so they put me back there. I had an exceptional season so I was back there again this season.”
Not only did the 6-foot-0, 180-pounder line up at safety as a junior again this season, he was a repeat All-State selection. “Having played quarterback so long, it’s a lot easier to also play safety because you know exactly what they’re looking for, exactly what they want to hit in certain situations,” Wilson said. “I know how to read the quarterback and I think that gives me an advantage playing safety.”
With Shaver off at Marshall, Wilson also started at quarterback for Huntington this year and he led the Highlanders to a 13-0 record and No. 1 ranking among West Virginia’s largest high schools heading into the Dec. 7 state championship game. Huntington lost a 9-7 nail-biter to Martinsburg in the title game, but the season was an unqualified success.
“I’m really proud of our season,” Wilson said. “We were predicted to lose in the playoffs, and earlier in the season we were looked at as a team that was going to barely make the playoffs. We shocked everybody and we were No. 1 in the state for seven weeks of the season, not counting the playoffs. We did what we were coached to do. Our coaches are really good and we were very sound fundamentally this year. When teams would stop one of our strong points, we would just go to another one and master it.”
With Wilson under center, Huntington ran the double wing, triple option, veer and some spread on offense. “We were predominantly a running team,” said Wilson, who passed for 587 yards and 8 touchdowns and ran for 276 yards and 4 more scores.
The Highlanders had two running backs that rushed for over 1,000 yards and a third that piled up 984 on the ground. “We like to run the ball a lot and with me, we’d run some zone reads and some triple option,” Wilson said. “All of our backs are fast so that’s the way the offense went most of the time.”
As a senior next season, Wilson might get a chance to throw the ball more, and he has some unfinished business in the playoffs. “It was fun being able to lead an undefeated team in my first full season as the starting quarterback,” Wilson said. “Next year, I think I need to work on not forcing it so much. I need to work on throwing the ball away. This year, I had a little trouble with that, trying to force it.”
Wilson has already heard from West Virginia University and Liberty as he looks ahead toward playing college football. With his standout play at safety, he might be recruited to play defense. “For right now, I think I’d be a safety if I played in college because I’ve been doing so well there,” Wilson said. “If I had a better route and offer to play quarterback, I’d definitely play quarterback.”
Working with NFA since he was in the eighth grade has helped Wilson develop as a quarterback, and he gives a lot of the credit to Coach Mansur Ivie. “NFA has helped me develop a lot,” Wilson said. “I used to have a lot of mechanical problems, nothing really major, but I had a few bad things. Coach Ivie, he’s really helped me work on the kinks and he even came to our game this season against Cabell Midland, our big rivals. He came in and watched the game and we worked the rest of that weekend. He’s helped me a lot.”
Ivie said Wilson has been a pleasure to coach. “The biggest compliment I can pay to Clark is he’s a football player,” Ivie said. “This isn’t just some euphemism for tough guy, he’s also an All-State safety. After meeting him at the Indianapolis camp in February, I sat down and watched his highlight tape from his sophomore season and was impressed. Clark has a strong and quick arm that needs to be fine-tuned, but he could play quarterback in college. I’m thinking after a dedicated off-season he really has a chance to have a great senior season and get more recognition.”
Mikie Kovich on the rise in Virginia
When the Woodgrove (Virginia) High School freshman season ended this year, Mikie Kovich continued on and dressed with the Wolverines’ varsity team. Over the next three seasons, the 5-foot-10, 170-pounder has positioned himself to be a big-time contributor with the big boys.
The enthusiastic Kovich led Woodgrove’s frosh team to a 6-2 record while passing for 1,677 yards and 21 touchdowns and running for 614 yards and 7 more scores. “I’m really happy with the season we had,” he said. “It was a blast. I had so much fun and we just went out there and did what we could. I had some really good stats, so that was nice.”
Averaging over 200 yards a game through the air indicates passing is Kovich’s obvious strength, but he also averaged nearly 80 yards a game on the ground. Can you say classic dual threat?
“Definitely, yeah,” Kovich said. “I try to read the coverage the best I can and if I don’t see anything and I’m not able to throw down the field, I definitely tuck and run.”
Kovich has been under center, passing and running the football, since he was 9 years old. That was also the time he started attending NFA camps. “They’ve helped me more than anything, really,” Kovich said. “I would not be half of where I am right now. I probably wouldn’t even be playing quarterback if it wasn’t for National Football Academies.”
His freshman season is over, but Kovich already has a goal set for his sophomore year. “I want to compete for the starting varsity quarterback job next season,” he said. “I think I can do it and I’m really confident. The only thing that worries me is my size, so that’s really what I’m going to focus on over the off-season, lifting and getting bigger and eating.”
Kovich has pretty good size for his age, and a well-timed growth spurt or two would likely boost his game even more. But when he watches football on TV, Kovich zeroes in on Drew Brees, the 6-foot-0 QB for the NFL’s New Orleans Saints.
“I love to watch Drew Brees play, he’s my favorite,” Kovich said. “Just the way he analyzes the defense and the way he’s so low in his stance, the way he moves around the pocket. He just throws the ball with so much power; it’s awesome. I’m definitely trying to pattern myself after him. I always try to catch the Saints games and look at what he’s doing. I try to be like him as much as I can when I’m on the field.”
While he had some doubts when his football career was just getting started, Kovich is showing he made the right decision by sticking at quarterback and growing into the position. “I love being the guy in control, being the guy everybody looks to in tough situations and the guy that knows everybody’s position,” Kovich said. “Just being the guy, you know?”
At 6-foot-1, 170 pounds, Alex Faniel probably looks like a typical upperclassman while practicing with Dinwiddie County (Virginia) High School.
In reality, Faniel is an eighth grader. And while he’s allowed to practice with the Generals’ varsity football team this season, Faniel can’t play with his high school team until next year, when he’s a freshman.
The wait will be worth it.
“Just being asked by your high school coach (Billy Mills) to take reps with the varsity as an eight grader is a big responsibility,” Faniel said. “When they asked me, it was a big surprise. Not every eighth grader gets to take varsity snaps and suit up for games, and I am very honored. It’s a lot of fun, and it’s given me the opportunity to learn and gain some great experience.”
Faniel is the starting quarterback for Dinwiddie County’s Junior Varsity team, and he’s still competing against players one and two years older.
Nonetheless, Faniel is thriving at the JV level, and he threw 5 touchdown passes and ran for 2 more scores in the Generals’ first two games this season.
“Between practicing and dressing with the varsity and playing for the JV team, the season’s been going great,” Faniel said. “Just being able to play quarterback against really good competition, it’s something I’m really enjoying.”
Faniel said attending NFA camps the past three years has helped prepare him for the big step up in competition.
“NFA has been one of the greatest experiences I’ve had,” he said. “They’ve really brought me to where I’m at now. They helped fix my mechanics, which are still a work in progress. But with where I’m at now, I wouldn’t be here without NFA’s help and the things I’ve learned going to their camps.”
When he started playing tackle football at the age of 8, Faniel played wide receiver. He moved to quarterback the following season and there is little doubt he’s in the right place.
“There are a lot of things I like about playing quarterback,” Faniel said. “The biggest thing to me is having control of the offense, being the leader of the offense. Being able to have the offense in your hands, the guys look up to you. And I really like the big-game situations, being able to take control of the game where all the credit is due, good and bad. Those are the main things I like about the position.”
While Faniel is already positioned to be Dinwiddie County H.S.’s starting QB next year as a freshman, he is able to focus on the present instead of looking too far ahead.
“Moving ahead, my main goal right now is I’m trying to take it step by step,” Faniel said. “The next step, a goal I have is to become the varsity starting quarterback as a freshman. After that, everybody’s goal is to make it to college.
“To be honest, I really want to have my choices, if not through athletics then academics. My goal is to get a scholarship athletically and academically. I’m working really hard to accomplish that goal.”
Three years ago, Colt started a charity to provide assistance to families in need in his community. It’s called “Pennies for Passes.” Since 2007, he’s raised over $7,000.00!
“Pennies for Passes” supports “Food for Others,” the largest distributor of free food to people in need in Northern Virginia. “Food for Others” is …a 501(c)(3) tax exempt nonprofit organization. All contributions are tax-deductible.
Please consider donating and helping him to help others. It takes $100 to feed a family in need during the holidays.
Checks can be made payable to “Food for Others.” All donors will receive a tax receipt from “Food for Others” for their donation.
You may mail your donations to:
“Pennies for Passes”
c/o Colton Roe
15192 Wetherburn Drive
Centreville, VA 20120