Late in October 2012, Will McCormick was called into FPD head coach Greg Moore’s office.
A freshman at the time, McCormick really didn’t know what the meeting was going to be about. But varsity quarterback Brooks Stroud, a senior that year, couldn’t play following a concussion suffered against Wilkinson County.
What happened at that meeting -- McCormick started two games before Stroud returned for the playoffs -- marked the start of a long career under center.
“It was kind of a surprise for me when I went into Coach Moore’s office and he told me I was going to be the starting quarterback for a couple of games,” said McCormick, who has been FPD’s starting quarterback since then. “But it was definitely fun and a great learning experience. I got to do some stuff as a younger guy that most kids don’t get to do.”
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McCormick has provided the Vikings some steady leadership since taking over as the full-time starter as a sophomore. FPD has gone 13-9 the past two seasons, making the GHSA Class A private school playoffs both years, with McCormick throwing for nearly 2,500 yards.
Now, as a senior, he’s preparing for one final season with the Vikings.
“I’ve been asked what’s it like to have a returning three-year senior starter at the quarterback position and what it will do for your team, and I can fill up a legal pad as to what that does for a team, in terms of confidence and stability and everybody understanding what to do,” Moore said. “He knows what to do and help with assignments and instructions and things like that.
“More than anything, he understands what we’re trying to do with our program and how we’re trying to run things. He’s our team captain and has taken the lead so far on our team meetings when it comes to things like accountability and trying to do right. It’s immeasurable what he brings to us as a returning starter at quarterback.”
Like McCormick, running back Reggie Gantt saw some varsity playing time early in his high school career. They now form the core of an FPD offense that returns just three starters.
“Will and I have been together since our freshman year,” said Gantt, who ran for 1,028 yards last year. “There was a feeling that junior and senior year that Will and I would be together. We just developed chemistry, staying after practice and getting snaps, trying to get everything perfect.”
With so many positions on the offense lacking returning starters, McCormick and Gantt have become mentors of sorts to the program’s younger players, aiding in their development process.
“They need to be geared up and ready to go, because we have so many of them,” McCormick said. “They’re going to have to go in there and play. They need to be ready on Friday.”
ABOUT THE FPD VIKINGS
Head coach: Greg Moore (115-66 in 15 seasons overall and at FPD).
Assistant coaches: Ken Garvin (defensive coordinator); Brian Collier (special teams coordinator/linebackers); Denny Bryant (offensive line/defensive line); Sy Jones (slots, safeties); Shane Self (wide receivers); Michael Walton (defensive backs/strength coordinator); Tripp Turley (outside linebackers).
Offensive scheme: Spread option.
Defensive scheme: Multiple 4-3.
2014 record: 7-4.
Region: GHSA 7A-A.
Returning starters: Three on offense; five on defense.
Players to watch: Thomas McBride (Jr., C); Will McCormick (Sr., QB); Reggie Gantt (Sr., FB); Denson Martin (Jr., DE); Allen Leach (Sr., S); Daniel Weaver (Sr., DE); Dontrez Johnson (Sr., MLB); Torrian Bradley (Jr., CB).
Aug. 27 vs. Howard at Mercer
Sept. 11 at Monticello
Sept. 18 GMC
Sept. 25 Lincoln County
Oct. 2 at Stratford
Oct. 9 at Mount de Sales
Oct. 16 Tattnall Square
Oct. 23 at Wilkinson County
Oct. 30 Twiggs County
Nov. 6 Region 7-A crossover