Anacostia quarterback Rashad Shackleford is a senior playing at one of the most demanding positions on a football team, but he was also one of the most inexperienced players on the field Friday night against Cesar Chavez. His first game under center, also his high school football game, certainly had its blemishes. He missed on 12 pass attempts, including an interception.
But for a player still learning how to play football, let alone the rigors of leading a team, Shackleford had a sensational debut. He completed 19-of-31 passes for 325 yards and five touchdowns in the 32-0 win, showing a flair for the big play; of his five scores, three went for 20 or more yards. Perhaps the best part of Shackleford’s first game, at least for Anacostia’s sake, was the fact that he expected to put up those kind of numbers.
“Everybody was telling me that I would go out and have a good game. I have good receivers to throw to,” Shackleford said. “[I] just stayed calm and the pocket, and just played football.”
Anacostia certainly has playmakers on the perimeter. The Indians had four receivers haul in 60 yards or more worth of receptions, including Talib Kingwood, who caught five passes for 65 yards and two touchdowns in the second quarter.
Shackleford attended McKinley his first two years of high school, he said, and joined Anacostia’s football team last year but didn’t play any snaps – and he left the team before the season was over. His limited time on the team in 2012 was spent learning from starting quarterback Dequan Turner, who threw for 2,109 yards and 24 touchdowns and led the Indians to an appearance in the Turkey Bowl.
After Turner’s graduation, the school’s coaches encouraged Shackleford to take over the offense. It was a comfortable transition, he said, because Coach Cato June keeps the attack simple and free for the quarterback to make plays.
“It’s kind of simple. It’s basically the same plays with just different sets,” Shacklefor said. “We’re just trying to confuse the defense with different type of looks.”
And Shackleford is a gifted athlete to begin with. He is the cousin of Dwayne Shackleford, the former Anacostia star basketball player who went on to playd at Southern California and is now the Indians girls’ basketball coach. Rashad Shackleford said his elder family member is one of the primary reasons he is at the school in the first place, and a driving force in his current position on the football team.
“I’m going to work hard to give him a good look. Everything just worked out good,” Shackleford said. “I really wanted to be the quarterback. I’ve put my all into it.”
NUMBER CRUNCH: 18
The number of points scored by Friendship Collegiate in the third quarter in a 32-6 win over St. Frances in the Brothers In Arms Classic at Byrd Stadium Sunday. Friendship quarterback Deandre Parker threw for 214 yards (on just seven completions) and three touchdowns, and the Knights improved to 2-0 on the year.
— A collection of wrestlers have been gathering recently to work out at “the barn,” which is tucked deep into the woods of Howard County and breeds some of the best offseason competition among area high school grapplers.
— In case you missed it over the weekend, Battlefield earned a huge win over Woodbridge Friday night behind the high-powered leg of Connor Feehan.
— Also, St. John’s made a strong opening statement with a convincing 42-0 win over Bullis Friday.
PHOTOS FROM THE WEEKEND
VIDEO FROM THE WEEKEND
WHAT TO WATCH
Football: Godby (Fla.) vs. No. 1 DeMatha, 3 p.m., Byrd Stadium
DeMatha started the season by rallying for a 24-20 win over Phoebus (Va.) last weekend, led by running back Taiwan Deal’s 118 yards rushing and one touchdown. The non-conference slate gets no easier on Labor Day, with Tallahassee area-power Godby visiting. The Cougars won the Florida 4A state championship last fall, and boast two Florida State commits in linebacker Jacob Pugh and offensive lineman Stephen Gabbard.
Letters of Interest is back for a second season on the Recruiting Insider blog. Each weekday we’ll start the morning off with a recap of games from the night before, some multimedia and tips on what to watch for that night.