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Player of the Week: Isaac Teasley showcases versatility against Commerce
Riverside Military Academy's Isaac Teasley looks for running room as he gets a block from teammate Justin Eagen, left, on Lakeview Academy's Joecarl Gradidge as he carries the ball for the Eagle during the first half of their game with Lakeview Academy in 2016 at Jock Horner Field.

Riverside Military Academy quarterback Isaac Teasley has the type of versatility most coaches look for at the position. Teasley, now in his senior year, is an elite athlete on the track and basketball court. 

His growth as a passer this season has been a sight to see. 

All of that came together Friday, as Teasley led the Eagles to a 20-19 upset over Commerce on the road, scoring three total touchdowns along the way. The win has Riverside Military playoff bound, according to head coach Nick Garrett, which would be the program’s first postseason berth since 2009. Teasley’s performance — 12 of 16 passing for 226 yards and two touchdowns, plus a rushing score — was good enough to make him this week’s Times Player of the Week.

“Isaac, for whatever reason, he locked it in like I’ve never seen him lock it in before,” Garrett said. “… He threw it well. He handed it off well. He ran when he needed to. He was like John Stockton, and the rest of our team on offense was Karl Malone.”

It was the type of performance that both Garrett and Teasley himself have seen coming in his development as a quarterback. “I feel like I’ve grown to be 200 percent better from the day that Coach Garrett came in, listening to the stuff he does, working on Saturdays when I have a chance,” Teasley said. “He’s made me a better player definitely.”

More specifically, Teasley said that prior to this season, he had always seen himself as an athlete first and a passer second. Now, things are moving in the other direction. 

Through film study and fully buying into Garrett’s offensive philosophy, Teasley said he’s learned ways to use his athleticism other than tucking and running if his first read isn’t open. 

“You can’t always look to scramble, use your feet to get out because you know you’re fast,” Teasley said. “Sometimes, sit in the pocket and take that extra second. Take the hit and complete the long pass rather than scrambling just to get 10. And I think that’s done a lot this year. And it shows in the numbers.”

It’s hard to argue with Teasley’s assessment, no matter which numbers you’re looking at. 

For one, he’s already passed for more yards this season than his previous two, despite having one regular season game remaining and at least one playoff matchup after that. But beyond that, the team has been winning.

The Eagles are 5-4 with a chance to complete for their best regular season finish in a decade with a win over Prince Avenue Christian this Friday night. Even with a loss, the team will be .500 for the first time since 2013. 

Meanwhile, the offense is averaging nearly 30 points a game over the last five contests after topping 30 just twice in 2017, and Teasley has been a major part of the increased scoring output.

“He (shows) pretty much a glimpse almost every single game, where you could say it necessarily wasn’t the most ideal play call, (but) he creates something that I haven’t taught,” Garrett said 

“And I don’t think you could get that from just any quarterback. It has to be a special individual.” 

Teasley’s growth has also shown in ways outside of increased statistical production. He is an exceptional student and active contributor in community service according to Garrett — his off field versatility mirroring the many talents he brings to the table on Friday nights. 

Teasley has also worked his way into a leadership position among his teammates. It’s a role that’s expected of quarterbacks and seniors, and one Teasley has taken on with enthusiasm.

“This is my third year as a starting quarterback, but I think it’s my first year as an actual leader,” Teasley said. “Coach Garrett taught me in these two years just to be vocal. I thought that you could always just lead from the front, but sometimes it’s more about being vocal and just telling everybody you need to step up and stop going through the motions.”

Everything seems to be coming together for Teasley in his final year with Riverside Military. Having already received multiple scholarship offers for football, according to Garrett, Teasley has the opportunity to play any of three sports at the collegiate level. 

And while he’s certainly grown during his time with the Eagles, Garrett said he’s far from hitting his absolute peak as a signal caller.

“The way he approaches the game, his playing ability, his throwing ability, his athleticism, with all that combined, there is no ceiling for him,” Garrett said. “He can be as great as he absolutely wants to be. Because once he puts his mind to something, if it’s being the best quarterback in the country, then he’s going to achieve being the best quarterback in the country. He just needs to make that decision.”

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