It was an exciting day yesterday as the All-State Teams for the 2020 & 2021 Classes were announced. As promised, now that the teams have dropped, I am tasked with explaining why the selection committee chose the players it decided to recognize. I can tell you that the committee believed the QB’s number one job is to win. Then a skilled QB should play within the Coach’s system and put his teammates and team in position to have success. We took into close account how well the respective ships sailed being captained by the QBs selected but it wasn’t the only criteria, nor should it have been. We looked at the statistics for passing yards, completion percentage, TD to Interception ratio and numbers of the sort. We also considered the ability of the supporting cast and how it affected the Quarterback’s performance and, finally, the quality of the opposition against which the numbers were achieved. What we also considered, though not weighted as much as some of the other criteria, was what kind of a college prospect the QB figured to be going forward. Well, anyway, the following are the Quarterbacks we elected to identify as All-State players at the position, broken down by Class, starting with 2021.
Class of 2021
Arren Hash, Campbellsville High School, 6’1″ 150
Campbellsville High School is 7-3 since deciding to move Arren into the starting lineup as the Varsity Quarterback. Campbellsville began the year 0-3 and have rebounded to win 7 of the last 10. Borrowing from one of the Selection Committee Members, who said this while Arren was being compared to other nominees, a lot of other quarterbacks are getting ready to eat Turkey, Arren is getting ready to host Beechwood in the State Semis. Arren, in 10 games at the helm, though only a freshman, completed 116 of his 215 passing attempts for a completion rate of nearly 54%. Hash, whom I nicknamed The Rifleman in an article featuring him on Kentucky Prep Gridiron way back on April 1, 2017, threw for 1,600 yards passing and 13 TDs. The one negative is he has thrown for as many picks as TDs; but, Hell, he is a freshman. The most important stat to the Committee about Hash was that Campbellsville is the Regional Champion, with a chance to win it all, and were going nowhere without him. Arren formerly played for 7th grade Team Kentucky Future Stars. It would appear to me that Ricco Hughes, the Director of Kentucky Future Stars, got another one right. This selection, to us, seemed rather clear.
Class of 2020
Beau Allen, Lexington Catholic High School, 6’2″ 190
Beau Allen, in 13 games this year, completed 204 of 329 passes for 2,873 yards, averaging 221 passing yards per game. That is a completion percentage of a smidgen over 62%. Beau threw 33 passing TDs while only being intercepted 9 times for an over 3.3:1 TD to Interception ratio. Though only a Sophomore, Beau has been offered by the University of Kentucky, inter alia, and reports being committed to the Cats and claims the commitment to be 100%. I suppose we will find that out as other suitors will continue to court him and gauge his interest. Beau is considered the top 2020 Pro-Style QB in Kentucky and the No. 2 QB prospect overall, regardless of Class, behind only AJ Mayer of Covington Catholic. Beau led his team to the State Quarters or Regional Final, however you best wish to refer to the same, before losing to Boyle County. When you go down our list, he has frame, numbers, is a tremendous prospect to continue his playing career post-High School and led his team on a nice playoff run, so he elevated his play at the time of year any Coach would want his signal caller to elevate his play. Beau’s play, to us, seemed almost to select itself. As a former Kentucky Future Star, this is just another prediction Ricco Hughes got very right.
Reed Lanter, Boyle County, 6’1″ 165
In 13 games this year at the helm of the Boyle County offense, Reed Lanter has completed 148 of his 213 passes for 2,209 yards passing and 22 TDs against only 4 interceptions. Broken down, that is a completions percentage of over 69% and a TD:Int ratio of approximately 5.5:1. Those are just astounding numbers. Now Boyle County is 12-1 with a three point loss to Danville (no crime there) being its only blemish with a date against E-Town looming this week-end. Lanter has three receivers to whom to throw who have all caught better than 30 passes (Reese Smith & Nick Walker, 43 receptions each/Reiley Colwick-31 grabs). Boyle County rushed for 3,649 yards this season, outside of its passing numbers, so Reed hasn’t had to necessarily be the Guy as much as some. Nevertheless, his numbers are outstanding and his prospects going forward are too. The selection committee also notes Reed Lanter is another QB on this list having to forego too much Turkey, which, at this time of year is an honor. Reed Lanter was a Team Kentucky FBU member and the selection committee believes this selection to be a clear choice. As for why there are multiple QBs, we also felt the number we took wasn’t as important, within reason, as getting it right. Lanter belongs on an All-State Team, period. He had All-State production.
Javier Bland, Hopkinsville High School, 6’1″ 165
Unlike a lot of other Sophomores, Bland missed his entire freshman year due to injury suffered during 7 on 7 last year. This means Bland, coming into this season, hadn’t played a down of contact, competitive football since the 8th Grade Tennessee-Kentucky Future Stars Classic which was played that year in Bowling Green, Kentucky. It was not expected Bland would play much, if any, Quarterback coming into this season either. After all, Jalen Johnson, who was approaching career marks at QB in both passing yards and passing TDs, and a two-time, defending, District POY, was going to play his senior year, right? Wrong! Jalen Johnson, electing to forego football to concentrate on basketball, in which he had been offered by multiple, Division I schools, as opposed to his one football offer, attended Aspire Academy in Louisville, Kentucky until playoff time, before transferring back to Hoptown. This left the Tigers to lean on an unproven, and completely inexperienced QB. No sweat, the Tigers still had a pre-season favorite for District POY in RB JaTorian Dillard, right? Wrong, again! Dillard would tear his ACL in a scrimmage game and be out, with injury the whole year. All Bland did, coming off his own injury, being thrust into the lineup, and not having a credible ground game on which to lean, not to mention an offensive line with not a single start, up front, coming into the year, was throw for 2,148 yards with 22 passing TDs versus 10 interceptions for a 2.2:1 TD to Interception ratio. The Tigers, reeling as the season started, came out the gate 1-6 and Bland struggling. Then came the tragic gun death of Freshman All-State DB Elijah Austin which resurrected Bland’s season and the Tigers’ fortunes. At times, it appeared EJ was willing Hoptown to victory after victory, upset after upset, until Bland and the Band found themselves in the State Quarters after five consecutive wins. Hoptown took a lead into the half at Franklin-Simpson before succumbing 35-20 in a game which was much closer than the final margin. Bland’s last six games put him on this squad but he didn’t have the complete year of either Lanter or Allen, nor did he have the talent around him of Lanter, and the two had very similar numbers in many categories. It was a hard decision between listing Lanter or Bland as the 2nd QB and we didn’t want to list three but Bland also played safety this year and intercepted one ball while defending, successfully, several more. In lieu of leaving off a QB who, in any Class other than 2020, would have been the first or only QB selection, the selection committee elected to list this former Kentucky Future Star (who played safety in that game too) on the team as an Athlete.
Well, I hope this article detailing how the four Quarterbacks were selected from the 2020 & 2021 classes was somewhat illuminating. Tomorrow, we will break down the RBs. Until then, this is Fletcher Long for Kentucky Prep Gridiron reminding you to enjoy Thanksgiving and, for those still playing football, PLAY THROUGH THE WHISTLE!