JEFFERSON — Already having found success quarterbacking the offense on the basketball court, Jefferson’s Darius Minor is adjusting to his new role as the point guard of the Dragons football team.
Minor has jumped out to a great start in the first two weeks of the season completing 29-of-41 passes for 248 yards while running for an additional 210 yards.
Dragons quarterback coach Jason Connor says Minor has all the tools to help the Dragons be successful this season and compete for the Region 8-AA championship.
"Darius is a hard worker and anything we’ve put on his shoulders he’s handled well," Connor said. "As the year goes on and we work toward a region championship, we’re going to be able to put more on his shoulders which makes our offense more dangerous. He’s done everything we’ve asked and has really turned into a leader on the team."
Connor, who’s coaching relationship with Minor, now a junior, goes back to when he was on the eighth-grade basketball team. Connor said he told Minor at that time he’d be able to find as much success on the football field as he would on the basketball court due to his work ethic and demeanor.
And so far he’s been right.
"Darius has already gained leadership experience being a part of a successful basketball team with coach Bolling DuBose, so we knew he could handle pressure," Connor said. "We just wanted to see if he could answer the pressure on the football field, and I think he’s answered those questions to this point."
With last season’s All-Region and All-State honorable mention quarterback Josh Bohanon graduated, the quarterback slot for the Dragons was up for grabs heading into the 2008 season.
"Josh was the epitome of a kid who maximized his ability, and that’s why he’s playing college football right now," Connor said. "There was a time period when we were a little worried about who was going to play quarterback for us this season. We knew we had a few kids who were talented enough to do it, we just didn’t know if we could replace Josh’s leadership."
Lead is exactly what Minor did in a Week 1 matchup against rival Commerce, a game which decides bragging rights among the schools.
Minor was outstanding in his debut, connecting on 13 of his 14 passes and rushing for 100 yards and two touchdowns in leading the Dragons to a 35-14 win.
"I was nervous at first but once I got on the field I was like, ‘let’s do this,’" Minor said. "From the first play, I was ready and pumped up. It felt great to beat our rivals."
Minor has actually been ready for quite some time, albeit in a different role.
"I played last year on junior varsity and got into a few varsity games, usually in the fourth quarter," said Minor, who was named junior varsity MVP last season.
With his playing time increased drastically now that he’s in the starting role and considered by his coaches as an impact player, Minor is expected to be ready each week.
Minor said the biggest difference between preparing for football and basketball games is preparing for the various defenses teams throw at you in football, whereas in basketball, "there’s not really much to it," Minor said.
There are similiarities, he added.
"From a point guard’s point of view and from a quarterback’s point of view, you’re in control of the offense," Minor said.
Dragons head coach Bill Navas has also been pleased with Minor’s progress and positive attitude.
"He’s really committed and he’s worked hard," Navas said. "The kids respect him, he’s mild-mannered and he has a humble attitude. That’s what you want from someone in his position."
Navas added that he hasn’t been overly surprised by Minor’s success.
"He didn’t do anything we felt he couldn’t do," Navas said. "He came out and played like Darius Minor with the ability God has given him, and hopefully he’ll have a couple of more games like these for us."