Every good football team has a quarterback who can lead, make the right decisions, protect the football or make something positive happen when a play breaks down.
The best at all of those traits heading into the 2011 season is a player most people haven't heard much about. But that's not surprising considering the hype Northwestern quarterback Justin Worley received last year while shattering nearly every state passing record.
While Worley was leading the Trojans to an undefeated season and the Class AAAA Division II state championship, Indian Land quarterback Rondreas Truesdale was leading his team to a 9-2 record. Playing their first year in Class AA, the Warriors lost the region to Central, which won the state championship. Indian Land's season ended in the first round of the playoffs against Columbia.
Truesdale (5-feet-9, 170 pounds) rushed for 1,573 yards and 20 touchdowns last season on 154 carries. He passed for 668 yards and six TDs.
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He was named to the Class AA all-state team, the All-Region 4-AA team and was a Herald All-Area selection.
Truesdale was the president of the junior class last season and posted a 2.95 GPA. He was a state runner-up in wrestling and was the Class AA state champion in the 110 high hurdles.
"Rondreas improved on his throwing in the 7-on-7 competitions,'' Indian Land coach Mike Mayer. "He's been a leader in the summer workouts ... been there every day but two.
"He put himself in the recruiting process. He's been to South Carolina, The Citadel, UNC Charlotte, Wofford, Presbyterian and Wake Forest. He'll play in college, but his lack of height may be a factor as to where he plays. He's 5-9 in cleats.''
Replacing Worley will be a big chore. But Trojan fans said Worley's predecessor, Will King, would be hard to replace after breaking the Northwestern school passing records.
First-year head coach Kyle Richardson, formerly the team's offensive coordinator, seems to work miracles with his "Air Raid'' passing offense. He has faith in senior Matt Turney.
"Matt will get the first shot at the job coming out of spring practice,'' Richardson said. "He looked good and has done well in the 7-on-7 passing competitions. But it will be a lot different when we put on the pads. That's when we'll see what he can do.''
The following is a rundown for the other teams. Nation Ford, Great Falls and Lewisville did not submit information.
CHESTER: Tony McNeal signed with Clemson. The candidates for his job are junior Jamarcus Moore (5-11, 170) and freshman Tommy Sanders. Moore primarily played defense last year. Moore led the JV team to a 10-0 record as a freshman QB in 2009.
CLOVER: Aaron Miller was the key to Clover's offense last year but he's a freshman at The Citadel. The job falls to either Ta Long (5-9, 155), Aaron Felder (5-11, 185) or Trey Childers (6-2, 185) First-year coach John Devine has switch from the wing-T offense to the triple option.
FORT MILL: The job belongs to Preston Fry (6-2, 180, Sr.). He passed for 1,700 yards and ran for 400 last season. Keep an eye on the All-Region 3-AAA quarterback from last season.
LANCASTER: Senior Shaquelle Williams (5-9, 171) returns. Lancaster was mostly a running team last year. Williams rushed for 943 yards on 86 attempts. He completed 88 of 151 passes for 885 yards and 5 TDs.
ROCK HILL: Senior Cory Wessinger (6-0, 182); Kenterius Hinton (5-10,185); junior Josh Erby (6-1, 170) and sophomore Dewayne Cherry (5-8, 160) are competing for the job. Wessinger and Hinton started last year. Bearcats coach Joe Montgomery said both have played well in passing leagues. Erby is the starter from the JV team, and Cherry started for the 9th-grade team.
SOUTH POINTE: Junior Devin Pearson (5-10, 158) started the final eight games last season. He passed for 654 yards and 9 TDs and rushed for 712 yards and 6 TDs. Senior Tay Hicklin (6-0 180) started the first 7 games. He passed for 499 yards and 7 TDs; rushed for 515 yards and 10 TDs. Senior Logan Yard, sophomore Tay Blake, and sophomore Jamille Simpson will also compete.
YORK: The incumbent starter is junior Spencer Carroll (6-0, 180), who completed 98 of 185 passes for 1,348 yards and 11 TDs last season. There's a new head coach this year: Spencer's dad, Bobby Carroll. Coach Carroll said the Cougars will use many offensive formations, meaning sophomore Jerome Petteway, senior Matt Bostic, or senior Corey Dover, the team's most versatile player, could be under center in certain situations.
WESTMINSTER CATAWBA: Senior Mark Vehaun (6-2, 180) returns after passing for 1,350 yards and 10 TDs. He runs a 4.9 40-yard dash. He is a candidate for NCISAA Shrine Bowl team.