Editor’s note: This is part of a series previewing the 2013 Bryant Hornets football team heading into their season-opening game at Conway on Friday, Sept. 6.
As a sophomore last year playing behind a three-year starter in Hayden Lessenberry, quarterback Brandan Warner only got into four varsity games. But he made the most of his opportunities. Admittedly, much of the time involved handing off in mop-up duty but of his 21 passing attempts, he completed 15 (a 71 percent clip) for 158 yards and three touchdowns.
Not surprising really, if you consider that as a freshman helping to lead his team to a 10-0 season, Warner threw for a phenomenal 26 touchdowns, hitting 94 of 148 throws (64 percent) for 1,732 yards with just six interceptions. He was also nifty enough to rush for 67 yards on 27 attempts (which includes sacks, what few there were) and six touchdowns.
“We require a lot out of our quarterbacks,” said Bryant quarterbacks coach Clint Shadwick. “They’ve got to be really smart, be able to ID different fronts, change blitz pick-up and that kind of stuff. And Brandan does a good job of that. He knows the offense as well as (offensive coordinator) Coach (Lance) Parker does. So that makes it easy on us. He’s very smart and he’s got every tool he needs to be a really good high school quarterback.”
Backing up Warner, Shadwick mentioned a trio of players including starting H-back Wesley Akers, a senior, who has been hampered by an elbow injury in the past. The last time Akers played a full season at QB, he was 81 of 128 (63 percent) for 1,139 yards and 16 touchdowns for the freshman team in 2010 that went 7-3.
“We have (junior) Madison Schrader as a back-up quarterback,” Shadwick added. “He’s got a good arm and knows the offense. Also, Gunnar Burks, who’s a sophomore. We’ve also got JV guys. They’re learning the system right now. They’re all working hard and doing a good job.”
Burks, who is also playing at wide receiver, stepped in as the freshman quarterback last season and was a run/pass threat. He completed 43 of 67 passes for 561 yards and four touchdowns while also rushing for a net of 642 yards, scoring nine touchdowns.