It was a close competition, but in the end, senior transfer Kirk Rygol has been named the starting quarterback for the Nation Ford Falcons for their opening game against Irmo.
Rygol transferred in from Broadway High School in Broadway, Va., for his senior year and beat out fellow senior Chris Layle for the starting job.
“It is close,” said Nation Ford head coach Michael Allen. “If we had to lean one way or another it’s to Rygol.”
Allen said a quarterback competition at Nation Ford was something the coaches weren’t used to as the previous two starting quarterbacks – Cole Martin and Dalton Helms – each stood out early. This time around, Allen said things were as clear.
Layle stands at six feet and tops the scales at 190 pounds, according to the Falcons’ roster. Rygol is at six feet, 185 pounds, so they are both similar in stature. However, Allen and quarterbacks coach Zac Lendyak saw something that put Rygol over the top.
“They are a little different,” Allen said on Rygol and Layle, without going into detail.
Despite Rygol getting the starting nod, Allen said he feels comfortable with Layle under center, too.
No matter who is under center as the season progresses, one thing that Nation Ford will have plenty of is wide receivers. With 14 listed on the roster, the Falcons will have their choice of who to throw to.
“It is the most depth at that position, that we have ever had,” Lendyak said.
Coming back this year is senior Alex Stennett, who caught 76 passes for 1,191 yards from Helms last year for 14 touchdowns. Stennett will be one of the key targets for Rygol and is getting his football feet under him from playing baseball this summer.
“He is doing well,” Allen said. “He is progressing. He is starting to get back.”
Other targets for Nation Ford this year will be seniors Bryce Kopyta, Halen Burgess, sophomore Dewuan McCullum and juniors Ben Tuipulotu and Montre Miller, who also transferred in from Westwood in the Blythewood area.
As far as a running game goes, Allen jokes they are loaded there too, saying there are about a dozen options. The roster lists nine running backs, but Nation Ford lost all of its backs from last year who accumulated any significant yardage.
Unlike their receiving corps and quarterback, Nation Ford is leaving its options open in who they will stick in the backfield.
Nation Ford opens the regular season Friday at home at 7:30 p.m. against Irmo, before heading on the road next week to South Pointe.
Mac Banks: firstname.lastname@example.org, @MacBanksFM