Leading the troops

Published 11:08 pm Friday, August 28, 2009

King’s Fork’s football team has had only two starting quarterbacks through the soon-to-be six seasons in the school’s history.

Sha’ka Miller, now a quarterback/defensive back at Morgan State University, was the Bulldog quarterback for the program’s first three seasons. Miller guided the team from an 0-10 inaugural season when King’s Fork didn’t score a point all season, to a city title and a 4-6 record by his senior season.

Laray Kindred has been the starting quarterback since the opening game of the 2007 season, his sophomore year.

In his first season, with Cecil Phillips as KF’s head coach, Kindred an option offense with Phillips’ usual strategy including about 90 percent running plays.

With Phillips leaving King’s Fork for the head coaching job at Amherst High and Joe Jones taking over the Bulldog program, Kindred’s junior season was in some regards another rookie season at the varsity level as he learned Jones’ spread offense and used a more even mix of run and pass.

Now entering his last season leading the Bulldog attack, Kindred wants a step up similar to what his predecessor achieved. The Bulldogs posted records of 6-4 and 4-6 in the past two seasons.

“We have more options overall on offense. We have a nice O-line. I know I’m going to have good protection and time, and we have a lot of playmakers,” said Kindred.

“This is our last year to accomplish our goals,” said Dominique Patterson, a senior teammate who will play running back along with defensive end/linebacker this season. Patterson, who’s verbally committed to Virginia Tech, played only on defense last season after suffering a broken hand and having to play in a cast.

With more experience, both in general and in his offensive system, Jones says his signal caller is maturing. Jones knows not many high school coaches have the benefit of a third-year varsity veteran at quarterback.

“He’s made a big difference,” said Jones.

“We see him making some excellent decisions, basically every day at practice, this year. The mistakes are fewer, which is normal with a kid coming along in a new offense, but he’s also making more and more big plays,” said Jones.