Welcome to the 2021 ATX QB Room! A new series where I, Robert Gonsoulin, preview quarterback talent from high schools in the Austin area. Be sure to follow week by week to be ready for what Austin has in store for this season of Texas high school football!
In our third edition, I will be profiling Class of 2022 quarterback Josh Pell from Cedar Park High School.
A nearly perfect season in 2020. The Cedar Park Timberwolves fall short in the 5A State Championship to Denton Ryan. Quarterback Ryder Hernandez displays a wild array of stats: 3,938 passing yards, 264 completions, and 54 touchdowns. Now, he's off to play baseball at Texas State. Time for someone new to step up. Enter starting quarterback Josh Pell.
As the Timberwolves' starting punter in 2020, Josh Pell knows exactly how crucial each play in a football game is and the importance of doing his job on the field successfully. He knew that throughout the entirety of Cedar Park's exciting run in 2020, from their week one victory against Vandegrift to suffering a heavy 59-14 defeat in the state championship against Ryan. If anything, having played at the punter position adds to why Pell is fit to be Cedar Park's next man under center.
But how do you manage taking on such an important role for a team that rides on very high expectations? As I sat down and interviewed Josh, I could see that, for him, it starts with how he carries himself. He values highly what he's learned from his predecessor Ryder Hernandez and the idea of setting a good example for his teammates to follow. "Just showing up everyday, being their vocal leader, and doing it by action….Leading by example I think is the biggest thing and just letting these guys know they can trust me and they can always come to me if they need anything just so we can really build that bond as a family." Pell then added shortly after that being Cedar Park's quarterback is something that one has to want, rather than something where one may crack under pressure.
Pell has capitalized on the confident mentality he's fostered by fully embracing what this past summer had to offer. He led Cedar Park's 7-on-7 team to the 2021 Texas 7-on-7 State Tournament in College Station, where the team competed at the same level as multiple Texas high school football 6A powerhouses like Westlake, Lake Travis, and Atascocita. Individually, Pell attended numerous skill camps at different universities and put on some shows. He performed well and made it under the radar of multiple collegiate coaching staffs, such as those of The University of Tulsa, Jackson State University, and Midwestern State, where he won the camp's highest award given to a quarterback.
As for getting his body in the right shape and working on his individual technique before the season, you can check that off the list. When I asked him about what he's specifically dedicated his summer to working on the most, Pell talked about accuracy. "Standing in the pocket and working on pinpoint accuracy, putting the ball exactly where you want it everytime, over and over again….Just reppin' it out...getting a lot of throws and reps in during the summer helps with that."
Although he's been working to become an elite pocket passer, Pell still considers himself to be a dual-threat, a type of quarterback that football teams on more upper levels, collegiate and professional, are evolving with in this day and age. His ability to run out of the pocket and utilize the draw would be very effective for the Timberwolves, as 5A defensive lines are nothing to be taken lightly.
Catch the full in-depth interview below.:
In 2021, Cedar Park will be coming off of their fourth state championship appearance with the hope of bringing home their third state title. With that being said, Cedar Park fans, what can I tell you about Josh Pell? He has the right attitude and mindset for being a leader and is a selfless person who wants to put his teammates before him. He'll be a fun player to watch this season and shares that taste for a ring as much as you do.
Josh Pell and the Cedar Park Timberwolves will match up against Austin Vandegrift in Week One on August 27th at 7:00 PM at Ed. W. Monroe Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas.
Westlake's Athletic Director and Head Football Coach has announced he will retire following the end of the 2021 football season. Dodge, a six-time state champion head coach, currently holds a 217-72 career record as head coach having won 4 titles with Southlake Carroll and his last 2 with Westlake (19' and 20').
He enters his last year as head Coach looking for a three-peat with returning QB, and Clemson commit, Cade Klubnik.
While nothing has been said or is official, Westlake Defensive Coordinator Tony Salazar, as of this writing, would appear to be the odds on favorite to replace Dodge after his departure.