The plan was for Anacostia merely to get the ball out of what Indians Coach Cato June calls “the black zone.” Stuck on its own one-yard line with roughly four minutes to play Friday night against Bell, Anacostia called for a quick fade pass. But as he dropped back to throw, senior quarterback Dequan Turner immediately recognized a blitz coming. Turner eluded a few defenders and evaded the end zone.
“Next thing you know, he makes a cut-back, and I’m telling him to get down, and he just takes off running,” June said Monday in a telephone interview.
Turner’s 99-yard touchdown run was the final score in Anacostia’s 48-6 win over Bell. June said Turner is “not really a scrambling quarterback, but he can make plays.” And during just Turner’s second season playing high school football, he’s been doing just that.
Turner finished the game having completed 11 of 18 passes for 222 yards and four touchdowns. He also carried the ball seven times for 108 yards and two more scores.
“A play like [Turner’s 99-yard touchdown run] lets me know that he can make decisions that are beneficial to the team,” June said.
One challenge for June and his coaching staff since they arrived last spring has been to balance implementing their pro-style offense with individually developing players such as Turner, whose skill-set suggests he’s plenty capable of being more than purely a drop-back passer.
June lauded the development Turner has demonstrated in his ability to read the secondaries, as well as in his throwing accuracy on out routes and corner routes. Through five games, Turner has completed 54.3 percent of his passes for 963 yards and 11 touchdowns while leading Anacostia to a 3-2 record.
Though he knows spread-option offenses have grown immensely popular because they are so difficult to stop at the high school level, June said he believes a pro-style offense such as the one Anacostia runs is more beneficial for his players’ growth and potential. He can point to Turner as exhibit ‘A’.
Turner has not yet received much interest from college coaches, but given the start he’s had to this season, June said he thinks it will be only a matter of time before that changes.
“That’s the next step,” June said.