Xavier Crain never imagined this. The Grovetown High junior reflected last week on his transition from sophomore receiver at Harlem High last season to starting quarterback and safety at the county's newest and largest high school.
When the Warriors take the field Friday at heavily favored Buford High, Crain probably will take the first snap.
"It's overwhelming to me," Crain said. "All I want to do is make these seniors happy as well as myself and my team. And even if we lose, to still keep our heads high."
As he spoke of the seniors, Crain nodded to teammate Dominique Mingo, seated next to him in a coach's office Friday as the Warriors prepared for an intrasquad scrimmage.
Crain said his goal for the season is that he sends the seniors out on a good note, that their final 10 games would be memorable.
"That's why we came together so good," Mingo said. "He's not the only one to play like that. That's why we're like a family. He knows in order for us to win, you got to play for the man next to you also."
The spotlight this week is on the Grovetown football team as it prepares for its first game. Mingo and Crain are its representatives.
They are quick to point to the contribution of standout running back Seth Hill and lineman Marvon Danzie -- both Harlem transplants.
Mingo is also a Harlem transplant. As a senior, he had the option of graduating from Harlem. He, like Hill, decided to be part of something new.
"They'll be the foundation," Grovetown football coach Rodney Holder said.
Holder's pitch to the team's seniors was that they would receive exposure their final season. The Warriors don't play a region schedule but will travel to play powers such as Buford High and Northside.
Mingo said that although he would welcome the opportunity to play in college, he's not thinking that far ahead.
"There's a time and place for everything," he said. "On Friday nights, the only thing I'm going to be worried about is winning a football game."
Mingo played defensive end as a junior at Harlem and will play the same position as a Warrior, but his responsibilities will be different.
He will play a "jet" end, lining up on the weak side and dropping into coverage if necessary.
Holder said Mingo's assets were his long arms and a frame that can handle more weight as he progresses with his workouts.
"That's what's scary," Holder said. "This kid's going to be a good high school player. What's he going to be like in two or three years? If you (run) to his side, you're going to have to earn it."
Crain was a receiver as a sophomore at Harlem but was primarily a quarterback in middle school. Holder saw Crain work at quarterback during spring practice and knew that was where he wanted the player.
Crain will also start at safety. He said the positions are somewhat similar.
"Safety is like playing quarterback," Crain said. "You got to be smart on the field. You got to know the coverage. You got to know everything."
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