Padgett, Ammons shootout prelude to 2021 QB battles

By Randy Lefko Sports Editor
Posted 8/4/21

MIDDLEBURG - A simple 7 vs. 7 passing drill competition at Middleburg High between the Broncos and Oakleaf High School may have been a quick peek into the best two quarterbacks coming in for the 2021 …

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Padgett, Ammons shootout prelude to 2021 QB battles


MIDDLEBURG - A simple 7 vs. 7 passing drill competition at Middleburg High between the Broncos and Oakleaf High School may have been a quick peek into the best two quarterbacks coming in for the 2021 season in Clay County.
With senior Luke Padgett chucking sideline to sideline passes to two favorite passcatchers; Caleb Freytag and Jordan Wells, the Broncos have energized under the offensive acumen of new head coach Ryan Wolfe. Wolfe, an accomplished offensive tactician at numerous schools locally including Clay and Fleming Island, is well known for his expert tutelage of the quarterback position.

At Oakleaf, with four year starter Walter Simmons, Jr., now an East Carolina University prospect, Oakleaf coach Frank Garis has turned to kicker Drew Ammons as his main gunslinger.
“Drew is an all around athlete; a great soccer player, a great kicker for us last year and now, a probable starting quarterback,” said Garis. “He’s a dynamic multiple sport athlete and has been doing a great job for us. He had reps last year.”

At the Middleburg passing day, both quarterbacks were able to connect for short and long passes against pretty formidable secondary play.
Padgett seemed content to roll out and find either Freytag or Wells on crossing patterns with an occasional long pass to Freytag, one of the faster of Wolfe’s passcatchers on long passes twice in quick strike fashion.
Ammons seemed more of a pocket passer with a keen awareness and ability to scan the secondary and find the open receiver. Ammons had a patience in the pocket that allowed his receivers to get separation and his smooth throwing style was on target on some passes over 35 yards for scores.

Orange Park
Around the county, Orange Park High has returner Tavien Wilkerson running the offense of coach Tom Macpherson with his experience under Macpherson’s fast-paced attack. “He’s got all of our receivers returning as well and we want to be more multi-dimensional this year,” said Macpherson. “Tavien is able to do what it takes to move the ball; if we have to run, we run, if we can pass, we’ll pass. He has a big, strong arm.”

At Clay, sophomore Jayden Jenkins, at the Jaguars 11-On 7 v 7 tournament, had some poignant throws to receiver D’Maurion Frazier who is emerging as one of the best hands-on pass catchers in the county. Jenkins and Billy Mobley, also a shifty type moving quarterback, offer coach Kyle Kennard two sets of legs for versatility with smart, accurate arms to get the ball downfield. Having All State running back Al’Querious Ray in the backfield will open the Blue Devil offense combined with Kennard’s two quarterbacks.
“Billy is a kind of stealthy athlete because he’s not real big, but he is athletic and, if teams underestimate him, they will pay for it,” said Kennard. “Jayden is a great athlete who has some quarterback lineage from big brother Jaylen Jenkins, who was part of the Clay’s historical Final Four runs.”

Fleming Island
At Fleming Island, coach Damenyum Springs has the experience of veteran former player Dante Roberts to tutor his two young quarterbacks, incoming freshman Sebastian Broughton, a transfer from Orange Park, and an undefeated junior varsity quarterback to answer the call for offense leadership.
“Right now, we are very young everywhere so the quarterback will have to be flexible and fast-thinking,” said Springs. “Connor O’Shields ran our junior varsity last year. We’re going to go with who has the hot hand. O’Shields has a grasp of the offense from his junior varsity time.”

At Ridgeview, first year head coach Bryan Arnette had his returner Brian Gardner as his slated started with Orange Park High transfer Durrionte Myrick offering his quick feet as a second slinger.
“Ben is steady and a good choice maker and keeps away from mistakes,” said Arnette, who lost two key players; wideout Ed Whipple and linebacker Miika Tuisano in a surprise exit; Whipple to Daytone Beach Mainland High, and Tuisano unknown, but not part of team anymore. “Durrionte was an exciting playmaker for the Raiders and we are hoping to see good things there.”

Keystone Heights
At Keystone Heights, where graduate Gage Stevens had some success with passes in a traditional run-strong Indians offense, running back Tyler Jenkins, a burly banger, may get the nod as signal caller; to be seen. Coach Chuck Dickinson gave quarterback Ken Mudge, a noted haymaker passer for Orange Park some space last year and Mudge got results in the air from Stevens.


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