Kincade fills big shoes at QB spot
April 3, 2012Chapel Hill High School Football
NEW CHAPEL HILL —Chapel Hill senior quarterback Avery Saenz suffered a fracture to his right leg five weeks ago against Carthage.
It not only put a 7-7 game in the second quarter in jeopardy, but it threatened to mar a season filled with high expectations for the state’s top-ranked team.
But in stepped senior receiver Anthony Kincade, who on his first play at quarterback, dashed 34 yards to the end zone to help the Bulldogs recover and catch their breath.
“It helped tremendously, scoring on that first play,” Kincade said. “It was big because (my teammates) didn’t know what to expect. To get a touchdown on the first play without our quarterback was big.”
It’s been Kincade’s job since, and Chapel Hill is still unbeaten and No. 1 in the Class 3A poll.
“We’ve been able to see, especially the last two weeks, he just keeps getting better and better,” Bulldogs coach Thomas Sitton said. “He’s getting more comfortable back there, knows the offense a whole lot better and he’s done a great job for us.”
For the season, in six games at quarterback, Kincade is 66 of 92 (72 percent) for 1,072 yards with nine touchdowns and four interceptions. But in Chapel Hill’s first two district games, Kincade is 26 of 32 (81 percent) for 481 yards, six touchdowns and no picks.
“He’s being smart with the football,” Sitton said. “He’s not trying to make every play by himself. If it’s there, he’s getting it to his receivers. If it’s not, he’s able to tuck it down and run with it. He’s just being a great decision maker right now.”
The Chapel Hill offense hasn’t missed a beat with Kincade at quarterback. The Bulldogs still average more than 500 yards and 47 points per game.
“As soon as I got promoted to quarterback (the receivers and I) stayed after (practice) and got that timing down,” Kincade said. “We come up on Sundays and work out without the coaches even asking us. We go outside and do drills and we stay after practice and do a lot of things behind closed doors.”
Prior to being forced into starting quarterback duties, Kincade led the team in receiving with 13 catches for 237 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
“It’s been a fun ride,” Kincade said of his senior season. “Going into the season I was a receiver trying to help my team. But I think I’ve helped them tremendously at the quarterback position.”
Kincade said there are several differences between receiver and quarterback.
“You have to show no emotion throughout turnovers and everything,” he said. “You’ve just got to pick up your team. At receiver I could just be like, ‘let’s go, let’s go, let’s go.’ At quarterback, you’ve got to be calm.”
The on-field demeanor isn’t the only thing that’s changed for Kincade.
“(The biggest challenges have been) learning the defenses, scanning the field, reading my progressions and stuff like that,” he said.
Saenz, who is still about two or three weeks from returning, has played a big role in Kincade’s development.
“I’ve talked to Avery to see what he sees,” Kincade said. “He’s been very helpful. On the sideline, he tells me everything. It’s a good relationship. He told me … don’t get down on any interceptions or mistakes, just go out there and play.”
Despite his success at quarterback, Kincade is counting down the days until he can return his natural position where he has been offered by Wyoming, Northwestern State and has drawn interest from Houston.
“I’m ready to get those passes from Avery Saenz,” he said.
NOTES: Chapel Hill (8-0, 2-0 in District 17-3A) plays host to Rusk (2-5, 1-0) Friday at Bulldog Stadium on Senior Night. A total of 31 seniors will be honored prior to the 7:30 p.m. kickoff. … The other 17-3A matchup features Brownsboro (0-8, 0-2) at Athens (5-2, 1-0).