Playing football is a lot like riding a rollercoaster. Stay buckled in long enough and there are going to be plenty of ups and just as many downs.

Still a young quarterback, Triton Chandler has already experienced both sides of the ride. As a sixth grader, his team rolled to a 10-2 record. As a seventh grader at Grove Middle School in Oklahoma this past season, the Ridgerunners never got it going and finished 1-7.

Whether you’re winning or losing in football, you should be learning. That’s why the season wasn’t a complete loss for Chandler.

“Heading into the season, the team goal was to win games,” he said. “And I wanted to complete more passes. I got to throw a lot more than I expected to going into the season, so I was happy with that.”

Airing it out

Chandler passed the football 73 times for Grove Middle School, and he connected on 45. He also had 7 passing touchdowns and was intercepted twice.

A QB since the first grade, Chandler is entrenched at the key position. “I love throwing the ball and leading the team,” he said. “When the game is on the line, I want the ball in my hands.”

His strengths as a quarterback? “Reading defenses and accuracy,” Chandler said. “And throwing on the run, I have to do that a lot.”

For as good as he’s been at quarterback, Chandler is not resting on his success. “I’m working to improve my distance throwing the ball,” he said. “And I want to improve my footwork in the pocket when I’m under pressure.”

NFA influence

Chandler has shown steady improvement as a quarterback and he gives NFA much of the credit. “I’ve been training with NFA for five years,” he said.

The hard work has been paying off. At the Duel in July, Chandler finished fourth among incoming seventh graders.

“I just wanted to make the final gauntlet,” he said after going out and accomplishing the goal. “I had been to the Duel several times before and wanted to be one of the ones in the final round. To do so well, it was unbelievable. I set a goal and worked hard to achieve it.”

Chandler’s success at the Duel boosted his confidence and that spilled over into his season with the Ridgerunners. “I knew I was capable of throwing the ball to my receivers,” he said. “My running back was with me at the Duel and his confidence in me helped, too.”

With his talent, work ethic and positive outlook, Chandler has been a perfect fit with NFA.

“They’ve taught me leadership (Passio), the correct throwing form and how to read coverages,” he said. “And training with NFA has helped me build relationships with coaches and players that share the same goals and dreams as me – to be an NFL quarterback.”