Foster's Fayard, Godwin competing for QB1 as season beckons
With the start of the 2021 season just days away, Richmond Foster still has a quarterback competition ongoing.
All throughout the spring, summer and now deep into preseason camp, juniors JT Fayard and Landon Godwin have been playing for QB1. And it's a toss-up at this point.
"It's been awesome," coach Shaun McDowell said. "Both of those guys are competing their tails off. We really feel like we've got two really good quarterbacks, and they both bring a different dimension to our offense. Right now, it's neck and neck, and it might be that way until we get to the actual district play."
Fayard is a 6-foot-4, 195-pound prototypical pro-style quarterback, with a strong arm and confident poise and swagger in the pocket. He transferred to Foster from Seven Lakes prior to last season and played JV because of transfer rules.
Fayard worked on his arm strength the most during the offseason, improving his already considerable velocity. He also worked on footwork and speed.
"My mindset right now is dominate every practice, every rep I'm in," Fayard said. "Even if I'm not in, getting mental reps and paying attention. Doing everything I can, so that when I'm in the game I'm ready for whatever opportunity comes."
The 5-foot-8, 165-pound Godwin played JV last year and brings a dual-threat presence. While he's more comfortable extending plays with his legs, buying time for receivers to get open and making throws on the run, Godwin worked this offseason on staying calmer in the pocket and being more diligent reading through progressions.
"Every day, it's coming out and just being the best me," Godwin said. "Make the right decisions and do the best I can. This is exciting to me. I like competition. It pushes me to be better every day."
McDowell's initial plan was to name a starter before the season. With the opener Friday against Lamar Consolidated High, that appears very unlikely, barring anything surprising happening.
Now he plans to let the situation play out. The Falcons have two non-district games to get it settled. McDowell said it could be a case where one guy starts one of those games and the other starts the other.
"They've both done everything we've asked them to do," McDowell said. "We've got to find out who will be the best guy to lead our team. I think it'll all come out eventually. It's just that it's so close, and they both deserve the chance to continue on."
Neither quarterback is feeling pressure from the fact that, ultimately, a decision will be made sooner than later.
"For most people, it would be pressure," Fayard said. "But I don't really feel pressure. It's just part of the game. I know if I handle my job and do what I'm supposed to do, God blessed me with the ability to do anything in His power."
Added Godwin: "It's about trusting the work you've put in. You've just got to stay patient, and when your opportunity comes, take it and don't lose it."
>> ENGLAND EXCITES: McDowell has been impressed with 5-foot-8, 165-pound junior running back Eli England. "He's really come on the scene, and he's probably our second-fastest, if not our fastest, kid on the team," McDowell said. "He's so explosive. Great vision." England played JV last year and had a strong offseason, working on his hands and vision. McDowell said England's speed is "elite."
>> 'HE'S A WEAPON': The best player for the Falcons on any given night? It just might be senior kicker Nicholas Arellano, McDowell said. "He might be our best player on the field," the coach said. "He can boom that thing. Hopefully we don't have to use him too much, but I hope we get really good at kicking off."
>> FAST, FASTER, FASTEST: Foster football is renowned for having speed, speed, and more speed. This year's team, McDowell said, could be just as fast as teams of recent years, but with more depth. "I feel like we're as athletic as we've been," McDowell said. "Maybe not like in 2016, but compared to recent years, we're young but we're more athletic than we've been. Especially at key positions. The supporting cast has a lot more guys who are all the same, as far as size and speed, instead of just one guy who was elite."