Fort Dorchester coach Steve LaPrad knew he had a quarterback that could run. He was less sure about his QB’s ability to throw the ball.
A month into the season, LaPrad is convinced junior Kobe Garrett can do both.
Over his last three games, Garrett has passed for 402 yards and four touchdowns, completing nearly 60 percent of his throws. A dual-threat quarterback, Garrett has added 302 yards and four TDs on the ground.
“Kobe is a special player, a fierce competitor and has really turned himself into a great high school quarterback,” LaPrad said. “We knew that Kobe had a ton of potential and athletic ability. He’s really worked hard to put it all together so far this season.”
A year ago, as a sophomore on the Patriots’ junior varsity team, Garrett ran through opposing defenses with his speed and athletic ability. He routinely sliced through defenses, scrambling and improvising his way to big plays. But staying in the pocket and finding open receivers was an issue for the young quarterback.
“Blocking at the junior varsity level isn’t always very good,” LaPrad said. “When Kobe felt pressure, he would scramble around, get outside the pocket and make things happen. That’s fine at the jayvee level.”
LaPrad counseled Garrett on changing his tactics. While using his athletic ability to scramble away from pressure might have worked at the junior varsity level, it wasn’t going to be as effective against varsity players.
“He’s realized he wasn’t going to get away with that when he came up to the varsity,” LaPrad said. “He had to be a smarter player and work on his passing.”
He did that all summer, spending countless hours working on his passing skills.
“His throwing motion needed some work, he had a slow release and he wasn’t very accurate,” LaPrad said. “Kobe really put in a bunch of time over the summer and improved a ton. He’s turned himself into a good throwing quarterback.”
Garrett has also learned when to stay in the pocket and make a throw and when it’s time to use his feet to escape.
“He has that clock in his head, all the good quarterbacks do,” LaPrad said. “He’s more patient in the pocket. He understands coverages better, and now he’ll wait for a receiver to come open before scrambling.”
Opposing coaches have learned quickly that Garrett can beat a defense with his arm or his legs. Garrett had 241 yards of total offense, including 114 rushing yards and two TDs, against Stratford.
“(Garrett) is as good a quarterback as Fort Dorchester has had in a while,” said Stratford coach Ray Stackley. “He’s a magician. He escaped a few times against us when I was sure we had him tackled. As he develops, he’s only going to get better and be even more difficult to contain. He’s scary.”
The Patriots (2-2) take on Wando (2-3) tonight at Bagwell Stadium.
“These are two desperate teams,” LaPrad said. “We’ve both lost two in a row and need a win.”