Record-setting season for Houston County High quarterback

November 21, 2012 

It’s the Veterans Day holiday and the football practice field at Houston County High School is vacant. Too soon.

A season of possibility -- a season that included an opening-day win against a Harris County team that went on to win Region 1-AAAAA -- turned sour in week four with a road loss at Grovetown. That game backed Houston County into an early corner, and the Bears could not claw their way into the post-season. As a result, the empty practice field appeared all the more desolate because of the activity still ongoing at playoff-bound schools across the state.

Quarterback Taylor Boyett sought solace in the school’s gym. On Nov. 9, he and his gridiron teammates took the long bus ride home from Evans, contemplating a 3-7 season. Two days later, Boyett and a few others traded cleats for sneakers.

“The ideal thing would be to take a little break,” Boyett said after his initial hoops workout. Remnants of the football season lingered. His movements on the court were quick but heavy, as though favoring an injury or at least acknowledging pain. A bit of a shiner colored his right eye. “But taking a break is not going to help your teammates.”

One can tell Boyett is early in the transition from football to basketball. During a 5-on-5 drill, he called for the ball at the top of the key. Open, he let fly with a 3-point attempt. Air ball. On the other hand, he excelled at finding the open man.

“Passing is not the hard part of the game,” he said.

For Boyett, that certainly seems to be the case. He’s coming off a season in which he set a Houston County program record for passing yardage in a season. His final total of 1,588 yards ended up 200 better than Broade Edge, who played four more games in 1993. Boyett completed 59.7 percent of his pass attempts, also a school record. All that despite playing most of the season with a partially separated shoulder and suffering a concussion Oct. 5 against Northside.

If he duplicates those numbers as a senior, he’ll finish as Houston County’s top passing quarterback of all-time. And by the way, he ran for 12 touchdowns this year as well.

“Obviously, it’s a great feeling to know you’re part of a high-achieving club,” Boyett said. “But when you look at the record, it kind of doesn’t mean anything (if you don’t make the playoffs).”

Boyett should have a good chance next season. The team graduates just three offensive starters, and a crop of more than 30 rising sophomores, including Boyett’s younger brother Zach, will improve the Bears’ depth.

“It starts with the off-season workouts,” Boyett said. “As a team, we’ve got to get bigger and stronger and more physical.”

Thanks, coaches

Football is as much a part of the modern Thanksgiving Day celebration as turkey and the Macy’s Parade. Consider this a friendly reminder that there are a lot of people who work really hard during the “holiday” to provide us with entertainment (at the professional level) and help foster a sense of community (at the college and high school levels).

Hundreds of high school coaches throughout Georgia will spend more time on Thursday breaking down film than breaking wishbones. Granted, it’s what they’re groomed for. Those coaches who aren’t busy on Thanksgiving wish they were. Still, while many of us wade through a tryptophan-induced stupor, local coaches will be putting the finishing touches on Friday’s game plan. Thank you.

Contact Chris Deighan at cdeighan@cox.net.

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