Category: high school football

Former NFL QBs find second careers as Nashville area high school coaches

Davidson Academy coach Jonathan Quinn was forced to make a big adjustment when his NFL quarterback playing days ended and his coaching career began.
It certainly wasn’t a simple transition.
“The biggest adjustment from player to coach for me was how slow the game was (at the high school level),” said Quinn, who won his first high school football state championship as a head coach in December. “When you are dealing with playing at such a high level for such a long time, and then you go here.
“The game is so much slower. And the time that you have to teach the game is a lot less. At the professional level, that’s all you do all day.”

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Former NFL quarterback and ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer, who won a Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens, made national headlines earlier this month when he was named Lipscomb Academy’s next head coach.
But Dilfer will be just the latest former NFL quarterback serving as a high school football head coach in the Nashville area. Last season there were three in Quinn, Rusty Smith at Grace Christian and Ingle Martin at CPA.
Quinn was picked in the third round of the 1998 NFL draft by Jacksonville. Martin was picked in the fifth round by the Packers in the 2006 draft. Smith was picked in the sixth round by the Titans in the 2010 draft.
A fourth former NFL player, Justin Geisinger, is the head coach at Pope John Paul II. Geisinger, who was a standout at Vanderbilt, was an offensive lineman in the NFL. He was picked in the sixth round by Buffalo in the 2005 draft.
Transition from NFL to high school
Martin was 28 when he became the head coach at CPA. He recognized early that he didn’t know it all in regards to coaching football or the sport.
“I needed a couple guys with gray hair to talk to,” said Martin, now 36. “The biggest thing is I didn’t know it all. I still don’t know it all.
“Good leaders will surround yourself with people that are smarter than you are. I have an unbelievable staff that is smarter than me.”
Smith first came to Grace Christian as an offensive coordinator when the Lions were playing eight-man football. The program transitioned to 11-man football when Smith took over as head coach.
Smith said the hardest part of his transition from professional athlete to high school coach was realizing that he was no longer dealing with professional athletes.
“We tried to implement some of the things I was doing, and we quickly said, ‘Wait, we have to pump the brakes on this,’” Smith said.
The concepts were too complex for high school kids.
“We don’t have near the meeting time. They are 14 through 17, and I was from the pro ranks,” Smith said. “That was probably the biggest and hardest part of the transition.”
Former NFL kicker David Akers is now an assistant coach at Ravenwood. (Photo: Wade Payne/for The Tennessean)
Former pros bolster staffs
At least 15 former NFL players or assistants are on Nashville area staffs.
Brentwood Academy and Ravenwood have the most with three each.
Former Titans Rocky Calmus and Jason Mathews along with former Packers/Rams lineman Scott Wells are on Brentwood Academy’s staff.
Former Titans linebacker Ryan Fowler, retired longtime kicker David Akers and former Titans assistant Alan Lowry all have joined Ravenwood’s staff in recent years.
Fowler is the Raptors’ associate head coach and defensive coordinator.
“He’s pretty darn unique,” Ravenwood coach Matt Daniels said of Fowler. “He’s built relationships with the kids and they trust him. They don’t think about his NFL experience.”
Read the article at the Tennessean.

'Just devastated': Indiana HS football player killed in car crash

Southport High School student athlete Rashawn Haskins has died from injuries suffered in a car crash, school officials confirmed Sunday.
Southport High School (Indianapolis) head football coach Brandon Winters told IndyStar that the crash involved both Haskins and his sister. He added that family members were informed that Haskins’ sister, Briana, is expected to survive.
The crash happened about 10 p.m. Saturday at U.S. 31 and Main Street in Greenwood, Greenwood Police Assistant Chief Matt Fillenwarth said Monday.
Haskins, 18, was in the front passenger seat, his unidentified 17-year-old girlfriend was driving, Fillenwarth said. His sister was in the back seat and injured.
Their vehicle was turning left when it was struck by a Jeep traveling north on U.S. 31., Fillenwarth said. The Jeep’s driver had a green light, but Fillenwarth said it was not immediately clear if the other vehicle had an arrow or may have been turning on the green.
Fillenwarth did not have information about injuries to others involved in the crash.
“We’re just devastated. We love Rashawn,” Winters said. “He’s a great kid. He’s been through a lot of adversity in his life, and he has always done it with a smile on his face. He’s very positive, and we’re going to miss him so much. There aren’t words to explain it.”
Read the rest of the article at the IndyStar.

Florida HS athlete overcame family tragedy, two ACL surgeries

The physical and emotional burden Mi’Trez Rawls took on two years ago was exhausting, to say the least, and it equaled up to nothing short of the toughest time of his young life.
Pine Forest High School (Pensacola, Fl.) standout junior linebacker tore his right ACL on Sept. 15, 2016 — just one day after his birthday. This was a traumatic event in its own right.
It paled in comparison to the tragedy that would follow after his father, Michael Rawls, died on Jan. 9, 2017 of a heart attack.
Then, last September, he tore his right ACL again.

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To get from there to where Rawls is today — leading the area with 130 tackles as Pine Forest hosts Crestview in the second round of the Class 6A state playoffs on Friday — is nothing short of a testament to his resiliency.
“I was very discouraged after tearing my ACL,” Rawls said. “My dad always told me that God does everything for a reason and my mom always reminded me to keep God first.
“My dad motivates me a lot. Every time I make a big play I point up to the sky. Whenever I walk out on that field, I point to him. He keeps my head straight.”
Rawls, 5-foot-10 and 175 pounds, has helped lead a defense that has allowed just 13.1 points per game to go with 36.5 sacks and 15 interceptions.
Read more at the Pensacola News Journal.

Botched overtime FG turns into TD to give Michigan HS a playoff win

Harrison High School (Farmington Hills, Mich.) almost lost its final game in school history on a botched field goal attempt.
Instead, the Hawks recovered and scored an overtime touchdown to get a 13-10 win and advance to the regional finals.

VIDEO: Mr. Football candidate Roderick Heard with the game-winning TD pass in OT as Harrison beats Country Day 13-10 in OT. @FHHarrisonFB @rod_heard
— STATE CHAMPS! (@statechampsnet) November 3, 2018
The holder, three-star cornerback/wide receiver and Northwestern commit Roderick Heard, had to reach to grab the snap and fumbled with it as he attempted to put it down. He ended up simply pulling it back.
The kicker went through his motion, spun, and immediately tried to block for Heard.
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Heard had taken off to his left, but defenders converged. It looked like he was going to come up short. But Heard changed direction and avoided defenders just long enough to get off a pass while jumping backward.
It fell into the hands of quarterback/free safety Maxwell Martin. He turned upfield, saw green and scored.

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Harrison High is set to close at the end of the year, prompting former Hawks and current NFL quarterback Drew Stanton to tell the Detroit Free Press in October that “It just doesn’t seem fair.”
On Friday night, the team made sure the school wouldn’t close without at least one more round of celebration.
Harrison High won 13-10.
They’ll move onto the next round to fight for the regional title as eight teams remain in the Michigan Div. 4 playoff bracket.