WAYNESBORO, Ga. -- For the past two seasons, Dominique Brown paced the Burke County sidelines on Friday nights, pondering when his chance at quarterback would come.
He knew Charles Jones was a lock at the position, so his only opportunity would come with a Jones injury or a blowout. Instead, he concentrated on his strong safety position on defense.
Finally, Jones graduated last spring after a stellar prep career as a quarterback and defensive back for the Bears and is now enrolled at Alabama. In steps Brown, a 6-foot-2, 175-pound junior who is scheduled to start the Sept. 3 opener against Jefferson County.
However, the job that now belongs to Brown won't come without some pressure. Burke County fans haven't forgotten Jones, who led the Bears to the Class AAA state title game in 1997. Brown must prove his worth, while first-year coach Nick Davis says he has as much athletic ability as his predecessor.
"Charles (Jones) and I are two different people," Brown says of his best friend. The two spent the past two summers working together at Mr. Golf Cart in Waynesboro.
"Whatever Charles did, he did. I'm not going to worry about what Charles did. If I did worry about all that, I wouldn't be playing my type of ball. I have to play the way I play."
Brown is just one quarterback in a region that is loaded with college quarterback prospects, such as Greenbrier's Michael Hicks, Westside's Matt MeZotte and Josey's Marvin Stone.
If any of Jones' magic rubbed off on Brown, Burke County fans can expect an exciting signal caller on the field this fall. Jones was Brown's closest friend and his biggest influence. A lot of moves Brown learned came from Jones. Davis even went as far to say that Jones was Brown's idol.
"When I was young, Charles and I played together," Brown said. "And everything he did, I always told myself, `Well, if Charles can do it, then I can do it too.' Most of the stuff I know came from Charles. As a matter of fact, all the stuff I know came from Charles."
Even though Jones and Brown are close friends, Brown says he sometimes gets tired of hearing about the things Jones accomplished during his career at Burke County.
"Everywhere I go (around town), say I go to the barber shop or something, everybody's like, `You're going to be the starting quarterback this year? That Charles Jones was a good quarterback,"' Brown said. "Everywhere I go people talk about Charles. I tell them Charles is gone."
Maybe fans should keep making comments about how good Jones was to Brown. Davis said Brown has worked hard during the off season as well as during fall practice to prove he belongs in the same category as Jones.
"He's worked up there at Mr. Golf Cart and he's had a lot of people tell him that there will never be a quarterback at Burke County High School as good as Charles Jones was," Davis said. "He's used that as motivation. But what is so promising is he's more athletic that Charles."
Brown says he can't wait to open the season in front of the home crowd. Maybe when he finished his prep career, fans may say there will never be a quarterback like Dominique Brown.
Tim Morse covers Georgia high school sports for The Augusta Chronicle. He can be reached at (706) 823-3216.
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