We are just two weeks from kickoff high school football here in the Ozarks. Jordan Burton is breaking down players, teams, and making predictions. Today he gives his take on local quarterbacks.
Year of the Quarterback
It will be a special year in the Ozarks at the quarterback position. There are at least five guys getting major attention from D-1 programs. Being the signal caller isn’t easy, and all though they get it done in a variety of ways, these five guys do it better than most in the area.
Jaelon Acklin, Senior – MV/BT-Liberty: If you want to see a true dual-threat quarterback then Acklin is your man. He can beat you through the air (1,731, 21 TDs), on the ground (1,356, 22 TDs) or defensively (50 tackles, 3 picks). Also a noted return man (had a 96-yard return for TD), Acklin accounted for 3,510 all-purpose yards in leading the Eagles to the Class 2 quarterfinals before falling to eventual state champ Lamar. Acklin has picked up a handful of FCS and FBS offers.
Blayne Armstrong, Senior – Marshfield: Armstrong is your prototypical pocket-passer. He’s 6-foot-4 with a great arm, and under rated athleticism. In 2012 he aired it out for the Blue Jays, picking up 2,253 yards and 18 TDs. The four-year letterman returns his top two receivers and leading rusher from last year’s 3-7 squad. Look for Marshfield to be much improved with another season Nick Codutti.
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Anthony Cooper, Senior – Kickapoo: Cooper has all the measurables you can want in a quarterback. At 6-foot-2 he has solid size, big-time arm strength and a 4.5 40 to boot. Although his junior campaign was a roller coaster ride at times (1,252 passing yards 9 TDs, 579 rushing yards 7 TDs) a great summer and another year to gain command of Joel Wells’ offense has Chiefs’ fans excited and college scouts inquiring. Improvement in his decision making will lead to a big year for Cooper.
Rafe Peavey, Senior – Bolivar: By now you’ve heard of the Liberators’ standout signal-caller. Over the summer he was often the topic of debate as he continues to garner attention at the national level and famed coaches such as Urban Meyer and Charlie Strong tried to flip the Arkansas commit. Why shouldn’t they, as a junior he amassed 1,872 yards through the air and another 514 on the ground to go along with 26 TDs. Had Bolivar not outscored its opponents 382-74 in their final nine games Peavey would have gotten a chance to add to his numbers.
Jacob Wade, Senior – Strafford: We don’t call him ‘The Real-Deal Wade’ for nothing. Wade was a man amongst boys in 2012. Through the air few did it better than Wade. His 2,094 yards and 24 TDs were impressive, but his 65% completion percentage was off the charts. At 6-foot-4 and 235 pounds, Wade is also a load running the ball (647 yards, 15 TDs). With his top three receivers back and a bitter taste from last year’s 50-36 district semifinal loss to Liberty, ending Strafford’s unbeaten season, expect the Indians to be hungry come August.
Also on my radar – Bo Dean, Camdenton; Gabe Kirk, Cassville; Easton Flaugh, Reeds Spring; Bobby Otwell, Mountain Grove; Da’Quan Ervin, Branson; Payton Rawlins, Seneca; Jacob Carlson, Nixa; Jacob Lasalle, Marionville; Levi Petersen & Tripp Tucker, Lamar; Dustin Satterlee, Carl Junction.
**Note: Names in bold designate a player that will be featured in a later position group.