Editor's note: This story is featured in the Daily Citizen-News' weekly high school football Touchdown! section. Grab an issue in papers on Fridays during football season, or stop by our office for a copy.
CHATSWORTH -- North Murray High School's Ladd McConkey might be the center of things as quarterback for the Mountaineers this season, but there isn't a shortage of support around the multi-versed senior.
McConkey took over the job of quarterback this season after the team graduated starter Preston Poag Jr. last year. Since then, McConkey has continued to learn what it takes to be in the middle of the action.
"Playing quarterback, I mean it's different," said McConkey, who has played receiver for the past two years. "But, I like it because you have the ball in your hands and can make plays.
"Being the quarterback, you kind of have to be the leader out there. You can't just know which route to run or who to block. You have to know where everyone's supposed to be. It's a big responsibility, but with how many seniors we have it's a little easier. We all play a different role."
McConkey, who also plays defensive back, played quarterback growing up, even as a freshman on the Mountaineers' junior varsity team. Making the adjustment to the high-school level, however, has had its ups and downs.
He got off to a shaky start against Ringgold a few weeks ago, but said he was comforted by the support of those around him.
"Some seniors don't even get to play, but they are still there screaming as loud as they can and leading by example on special teams and stuff," he said.
North Murray coach Preston Poag said he was proud of the way McConkey bounced back after the rough beginning as the Mountaineers exploded in the second half to defeat Ringgold, 45-17.
"He's always been a playmaker since he was little," Poag said. "But after that Ringgold first half, I told him that playing quarterback is about forgetting things. He learned from that since he hadn't ever dealt with that before."
McConkey has also battled with plenty of injuries throughout his career, being a little banged up to begin this season, as well. North Murray freshman Seth Griffin got the start for the team on Sept. 6 in their win over Model.
"I told him that not many freshman get this opportunity, so to just take advantage of it," McConkey said. "I told him that he was just as good as everyone out there and that he was ready. He's going to be really good when he gets older."
While McConkey said he's slowly getting back to be 100% healthy, before he knows it his stint with the Mountaineers will be coming to a close. He has lots to decide on as he chooses between a handful of schools that have offered him scholarships to play football, including Kennesaw State, Tennessee-Chattanooga and Georgia Southern.
"Most are looking at me to be a slot receiver," he said. "There's a few schools that still are coming on, too. It all happened so fast, and can be a little chaotic. But, it's fun and a big decision I have to make."
McConkey continues his senior year tonight as North Murray (4-1, 3-0 in Region 6-3A) travels to Murray County (3-2, 1-2 in Region 6-3A).