Donquell Green runs. He also throws, catches, returns, tackles and intercepts. And he scores touchdowns – lots of them.
He’s everywhere, much to the chagrin of the other sideline.
Against Perry in the first round of the playoffs a year ago, Green twice scored from inside 3 yards, getting the tough yards late. He also returned a kickoff 98 yards for a score and found Jermaine Baxley for a 77-yard score.
Earlier in the year against Cross Creek, a televised game, Green returned an interception for a touchdown. Offensively, he accounted for four touchdowns despite running or throwing on only 14 plays in the game.
“A lot of times, I think we take for granted the stuff he does. He’s a kid that we’ve never had anything like this. This is a first,” Burke County offensive coordinator Sean Tiernan said. “He makes plays when there’s nothing there. Anyone who’s seen him play knows how special he is.”
At 5-foot-9 and 160 pounds, Green is known for using his speed to find lanes and get to the outside.
His arm is probably a little under appreciated, but it fits the system perfectly. Tiernan, who takes over as coordinator after Jim Dye moved to Troy University to coach the offensive line, said Green isn’t going to fool anyone by delivering deep passes play after play like a Brett Favre in the NFL, but Green is quick with his release.
Burke County is primarily a running team in the spread offense anyway, and passes do act like runs: short passes to get the ball into a playmaker’s hands while in space. Don’t be surprised if Green is one of those pass catchers at times this fall.
Going back to Burke County’s 2011 state championship season, the Bears had the QB duo of Corey Mayton and Green. Burke County averaged 44.4 points per game as the physical yet deceptively quick Mayton and the faster Green bullied defenses. After Mayton graduated, Green became the star. He rushed for 1,827 yards and passed for 1,399 more as a junior, leading Burke County to the state quarterfinals. A close loss to eventual state champ Sandy Creek ended the run.
This season, there really isn’t a quota for Green touches – as quarterback, Green will get plenty of chances. If there’s any concern, it’s about limiting the touches to keep him fresh.
This fall, Antonio Harold will be asked to help again. Harold, who is more of the Mayton-mold, was the backup a year ago, filling in as needed, sometimes after a big Green run. Receiver Baxley and running backs Reginald Grubbs and Donqual Young are other players expected to assist a team that has a young offensive line filled with potential.
Parker believes Green’s presence will make the supporting cast improve.
“I want him to maintain that level of consistency,” Parker said. “That’s the thing for me. It’s not so much of what he’s been able to do, it’s really been the consistency of which he’s been able to do it. I want him to maintain that. Obviously, great players like that have a tendency to be what I call infectious – they kind of get those other guys around them going. That’s what we need from him.”
Green is hoping more highlight plays lead to a future at a major college program. Another big season and deep playoff run would only help.
“I feel like we got a lot of stuff on our chest we want to get off, falling short against Sandy Creek. So I feel good, like all my guys are ready,” Green said. “We want to win it all, win us another region championship, and make it back to the Dome.”