At this time next year, Quincy Crittendon will be a freshman at Austin High School in Decatur, Alabama. With an eye to the future, the eighth grader has set his football goals extremely high.

“I’m already looking forward to my freshman year,” Crittendon said. “I’ll be looking forward to playing varsity.”

Living in a state that is crazy about its football, Crittendon isn’t just dreaming about playing varsity for a Black Bears team that is an impressive 17-6 over the past two years. This season, he has shown advanced talent at quarterback.

The starting eighth grade QB for his Cedar Ridge Middle School team, Crittendon led the Black Bears to a 7-1 record and the Tennessee Valley state championship.

“I was overwhelmed with joy,” he said of the successful season. “We had some great wide receivers and running backs, a great offensive line. We also had a lot of great defensive players who always were making big plays.”

Goal oriented

Heading into the season, Crittendon said his personal goal was to throw 30 touchdown passes, a staggering total. He finished with 20.

“I think I did pretty good,” Crittendon said. “I was really happy with the way I delivered the ball and making it to the championship game. Heading into season, the team goal was to make it to the championship game and win it. Personally, I wanted to throw 30 touchdown passes and be the best leader possible. I’m pretty happy but I think I have room to improve even more. I can get better reading coverages and I can get better with my gap escapes.”

Every quarterback can improve, be it on the NFL level or in eighth grade. But Crittendon showed he already has impressive skills by finishing third in the Duel, NFA’s high-profile competition held every July.

“My goal was finishing in first place,” he said. “But I was happy with how I did and where I finished. I had coach Kraig Campbell work with me and he really helped me get ready for the competition.”

This was Crittendon’s second Duel invitation. He finished sixth on his first trip to Paul Brown Tiger Stadium in Massillon, Ohio. “This time, I felt better throwing the ball and hitting my targets,” he said. “I was more comfortable and I was able to compete like I know I can.”

Versatile athlete

With his eighth grade season in the record books, Crittendon has moved into basketball season. He is a prolific point guard and shooting guard, but football has always come first. “Football has always been my favorite because I like to play quarterback and lead my team,” he said. “And I really like to throw the ball.”

While basketball helps keep Crittendon in shape for football, he lifts weights throughout the year to prepare for the contact. He’s also been training with NFA the past two years.

“NFA has helped me a lot,” Crittendon said. “They’ve helped me with my throwing mechanics and my technique. I’ve become a better passer and they’ve also helped me become more confident and be a better leader.”