Cody Kohn knows it's time to grow up.
For two years, Kohn has gotten by on his youth. He made an improbable debut in the middle of the 2003 season as Great Mills' varsity quarterback. When Kohn thrived -- throwing for three touchdowns in his third game -- people said he was talented beyond his years.
When Kohn struggled, it was okay. He was still so young.
Now Kohn's a junior, closer to graduation than he is to his first day of high school.
"I can't mess up and say: 'Oh, I'm young. I'm only in ninth grade or 10th grade,' " he said.
Kohn said it's time to stop talking about his potential. This is the year to start producing results if he wants to land on a college roster.
"This is my most important year," Kohn said. "I don't want to have all the pressure on me for my last year."
He knew that last spring when he sat down with Bill Griffith, who had just been promoted to head coach of the Hornets. Griffith looked him directly in the eyes, and Kohn knew right then that he could no longer get away with his playful sense of humor.
"It's time to get serious," Griffith told Kohn.
That said, Kohn made a beeline for the Hornets' weight room. His 6-foot-1 body would look a lot more attractive to recruiters if he added bulk to his 165-pound frame.
Then, Kohn picked up the Great Mills playbook and read it thoroughly. Younger players might be able to get away with forgetting the details of a scheme. Upperclassmen, though, don't have that luxury.
"I have to work harder," he said. "I haven't been getting the playbook down, and that's something a quarterback has to know before everyone else."
Griffith has already seen a difference in Kohn.
"He's starting to learn defenses and starting to learn how to read defenses," Griffith said. "He's more confident standing in the pocket and taking his time making a decision."
Griffith said mail from college programs is starting to come to Great Mills inquiring about Kohn. Kohn knows people are watching .
"There's no excuses anymore," he said.