Glenelg senior quarterback Justin Field approaches football with the same intensity he devotes to his other passion -- snowboarding.
"It's all about balance and making the right move," Field said. "If you make one mistake going down the mountain, you're going to fall, and in football it's the same way because you're going to get hit."
So far this season, Field has been making all the right moves on the football field, emerging from a mediocre junior year to become one of the county's top quarterbacks. The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Field has been the guiding force that has Glenelg (7-2) in the postseason for a school-record fifth consecutive year despite entering the season with just four returning starters.
Field has rushed for 130 yards and eight touchdowns in a run-oriented offense that has amassed a county-high 2,845 yards on the ground.
But Field has added a passing component to Glenelg's offense. He has completed 22 of 38 passes for 357 yards and seven touchdowns. Last season, he ran for 22 yards and threw for 202 yards and two touchdowns.
"I think now that he's in his second year of starting, he can tweak the offense here and there and put his own signature on it," Coach John Davis said. "Justin is not a vocal kid. I don't know how many words I've heard him say since he's been here, but it's not many. But when he talks, he commands the respect of his teammates."
"When we really need leadership, he's given it to us," said senior left guard Steve Walsh. "His confidence has gone through the roof this year. Last year he'd be jumping around and not be able to get his pass off. Now, he never loses his posture during a game. We believe in him."
Field will likely play an even bigger role when his team hosts Friendly (6-3) tomorrow night. The Gladiators' top three running backs -- Stephen Bullard, Blake Mullinix and Trey Crayton -- have a combined 1,688 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns, but all three are nursing injuries.
"Justin is one of those people who is going to have to find a way to step up his game, just like some other guys on our team," said Davis, whose team lost to Potomac, 26-21, in the region final last year. "But Justin has played in playoff games before, and he's not fazed. We're going to give him the ball and let him do his thing."