Michael Kern is on a serious roll. No matter what time of the year it is, he always seems to be having success as a quarterback.

In July, Kern was back at the Duel and he finished first among incoming sophomores. He has now finished first in his age group three straight years at NFA’s premier competition.

“On one end, you go into it having some confidence, ‘OK I know I can do this from past experience,’” Kern said. “On the other hand, I have to try to do the best I can to do that again. You know the guys coming in are great quarterbacks that have great arms and great minds. It’s quite a competition, and wanting to keep the streak going can give you some nerves heading into it.”

As usual, Kern proved to be a steady hand at the Duel, and he came out on top. But while he is as intense of a competitor as you’ll find, winning the Duel wasn’t Kern’s one and only goal.

Building relationships

“Just being able to go up there to the Duel and compete with everyone, it’s such a great experience that I look forward to,” Kern said. “Being able to win it, that obviously can enhance the enjoyment. But being able to go out there with the guys and see them all throw and build relationships there, it’s really fun. Win or lose, it’s just a fun competition that I look forward to every year. It’s a good time.”

Heading into his fall football season at Lake Nona High School in Orlando, Fla., the 16-year-old QB continues having spectacular success. While helping the Lions roll out to a 3-0 start, Kern has completed 74 of 113 passes (65 percent) for 1,116 yards and 11 touchdowns. He has yet to throw an interception and has also rushed for a TD.

“I’m really excited being with all the guys I’m out there playing with,” Kern said. “The whole goal for us is to prepare for varsity and be ready. The stats are fun to count and look back at, but every rep, I’m kind of taking it as preparing myself for varsity, when it really matters. The guys I’m out there with, I keep relaying that message to them and they’re really getting it. The guys I’m growing up with and I’m going to be with on varsity, we’re building that connection now. We’re all just getting that mindset of we’re getting ready to go to the big show, let’s be ready. So every rep, we kind of have that mentality rather than, ‘Let’s try to do good for ourselves.’ We’re trying to get that team mentality and get ready to win some ballgames up on the varsity level.”

Looking ahead

With the upbeat Kern in the program, the Lake Nona varsity football team has an extremely bright future. The 6-foot, 150-pounder got an early feel for what’s to come when he played in a varsity scrimmage before the season.

“Just to get in, I was very excited,” Kern said. “It’s kind of funny, I only got in for two drives but just being able to be in the game and see the change of pace, it was awesome. I was so excited when they told me I was going in. There were nerves, but at the same time I was very excited to see how it is, how it goes. I think it was good to get a lot of the jitters out. Going into next year, I should be ready just because I had a taste of it.”