It was not that long ago that high school teams were more focused on running the football and passing on third down only when they needed more than 5 yards.
Those times have changed, for the most part, in the area with more aggressive offenses becoming more prevalent, and with that, the quarterback play has skyrocketed. The most eye-opening numbers so far this season come from FPD’s Dalton Cox, Warner Robins’ Dylan Fromm and Peach County’s Antonio Gilbert with the three combining for 33 touchdown passes and only two losses.
“I knew that Dalton was going to be a very good high school quarterback, but he has matured into much more than that,” said FPD head coach Greg Moore, whose team is off to a 3-1 start. “The numbers he is putting up is really amazing, but it really isn’t because I see the way he prepares for each and every game. With that being said, none of this is possible without our improved offensive line play.”
Cox, who is a senior, has 12 touchdowns and no interceptions. FPD hosts Twiggs County on Friday.
“We practice all the time, and we throw, and then we throw more,” said Cox, who has completed 66-of-89 passes for 966 yards. “I obviously could not be putting out these numbers without Titus Moore and Maurice Gordon and all the other guys and a strong offensive line, and this is really what we expected to be able to do. But really it’s all about finding a way to win football games.
“If we have to run it all night and we win, that’s fine with me, but I am also fine with throwing it every play.”
Warner Robins doesn’t throw it every play, but it probably could with Fromm, who is off to a great start in his first season with the Demons. Fromm has thrown for 1,277 yards and 14 touchdowns with three interceptions in leading the Demons to a 5-0 start.
Warner Robins hosts Coffee on Friday.
“Dylan has run this offense since the seventh grade, and even then, he knew it as good as the varsity quarterbacks,” Warner Robins head coach Mike Chastain said. “He is a very bright kid who is in the top 10 in his class, and he shows that smartness on the football field. When you look at most of the successful football programs, it all starts with having a strong quarterback, and we feel like we have a very good one right now.
“We had so many question marks heading into this season, but Dylan has played well against a difficult schedule, and we are very confident that play will continue.”
Peach County head coach Chad Campbell has seen Gilbert make huge strides as a quarterback in the past two years.
“To be honest, when he was a ninth-grader he was slow as all get out, and we weren’t sure what we had,” Campbell said. “What we did see, however, is that he had as good of an arm as we have ever had. He earned playing time as a sophomore and then has just continued to mature as a football player over the last few years.”
Gilbert has helped lead the Trojans to a 4-1 record, throwing for 1,082 yards and seven touchdowns with no interceptions, but Campbell still wants to see more from his senior quarterback.
“We still want Antonio to make quicker decisions at times, and he has got to know what he is looking at before the ball is snapped,” Campbell said. “He was near perfect again Westside in our last game, and we just want him to build off of that into the bye week and play his best football down the stretch.”