The things you learn on the internet. Not only was Chargers All-Pro quarterback Philip Rivers a star quarterback in high school, he was also a legitimate, contributing defensive back. And he could actually play.
Buried behind other, more notable highlights from a random 1999 two-game sampling of Athens (Ala.) High School Golden Eagles snow jobs is a pretty solid interception by Rivers. The play was first unearthed by Boston.com sports writer Hayden Bird, who gets all the credit for going the extra mile to find Rivers doing something unusual that doesn’t involve a bolo tie or converted van:
Random discovery: Philip Rivers played defensive back in high school, and actually made at least one interception. His speed appears to have remained about the same over the years. pic.twitter.com/cqMHiNh5AQ
— Hayden Bird (@haydenhbird) January 8, 2019
Now, we don’t know if Rivers started at defensive back or if he was just used in some nickel and dime packages and as a reserve. Whichever, he did an impressive job high pointing this pass by a quarterback for Austin High School (Decatur, Ala.) and then attempted to return it to the end zone.
That didn’t go as well. To call Rivers’ return “horse-like” would be apt. It’s not that he can’t run, it’s just that, well, he’s not very fast and it looks more like a canter than a full-blown run. No one has ever confused Philip Rivers for a dual-threat quarterback.
There’s plenty of more Rivers highlights buried among this YouTube video, which is absolutely of the pre-modern YouTube error, so it’s pixelation can be forgiven. Among the other interesting notes from the 1999 Athens Golden Eagles: Rivers’ running back, Mario Stanley, went on to play at UAB, another running back, Michale Troupe, eventually played for the Louisville Cardinals (as a defensive back) and wide receiver Von Webb played his position for Memphis. That’s a pretty strong high school team!
Enjoy all their scholastic halcyon days right here: