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Killingsworth is prepared to lead a new-look team

Posted: August 24, 2013 9:03 p.m.
Updated: August 24, 2013 9:03 p.m.

Chase Killingsworth has started at quarterback for the West Ranch freshman and JV teams, and now gets his show at getting under center at the varsity level.

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Chase Killingsworth has been the starting quarterback since he was 10 years old.

But varsity football is a very different animal.

There are a lot more eyeballs on the team and much more scrutiny associated with playing the position.

But even with all the weight on his shoulders, West Ranch’s junior signal caller is acting like he’s been there before.

“The pressure is definitely there. You’ve got the program on your shoulders,” Killingsworth says. “But you’ve just got to go in, know that you’re the man for the job, and take care of what you need to do.”

Killingsworth says he embraces the pressure and harnesses it into motivation.

After all, it’s not exactly his first rodeo.

He was the starter under center for West Ranch’s junior varsity team last year and the freshman team the year before that. He also played the position throughout his youth years.

With the JV team last season, Killingsworth helped lead the Wildcats to an 8-2 season, which included wins against Valencia and Canyon during a 4-1 league campaign.

Not only that, but sports run in the family. Killingsworth is the third of four kids. His older brother Tyler also played a little bit of quarterback at West Ranch before graduation in 2010, and that served as a major inspiration for Chase to take up the position.

“I think he’s just really grateful for the opportunity to be able to (play quarterback), especially as a junior,” says Chase’s mother, Cheryl. “And he just keeps that in mind that it really is a special gift that he’s been given. He just tries to stay humble in that way and just realize that this is a huge learning curve.”

There was somewhat of an adjustment period of Chase in terms of acclimating to the speed of the varsity game — but he had no trouble picking up the team’s new spread offense.

Chase became familiar with the scheme when he ran it last year under then-JV head coach Jan Miller, who took over the varsity program this season.

“He doesn’t have that deer-in-headlights look. He can’t wait to get our there,” Miller says of the quarterback who won the varsity starting job in March.

This season, West Ranch is making the transition to the spread after primarily operating as a run-first team the last two seasons.

With his decisiveness and ability to quickly read defenses, Killingsworth was the right one for the job. And it didn’t take long for teammates to start to see why.

“From last year to this year, just looking at how he’s progressed, his improvement from last year is ridiculous,” says West Ranch junior cornerback Jared Monroe.

Killingsworth and Monroe are two of three juniors who are starting on the varsity team this year. The two were also JV teammates last year.

They’ve both experienced the awkward feeling of playing football among players who are, for the most part, a year older.

It’s especially an odd position for a junior quarterback, who has to call out the play in the huddle with a bunch of seniors looking back at him.

“Right away something clicked. We communicate perfectly,” says West Ranch senior running back Christian Parrish. “If we need to fix something or talk about it, he’s not scared to talk to me, I’m not scared to talk to him.”

Likewise, Chase is sensing the support of his teammates.

“The seniors are definitely willing to listen. We’re a team and age doesn’t really matter,” Chase says. “We both have the same goal and we all listen to each other, so it’s a little intimidating having to go up to the older guys. But they make it easy, and they’ve talked to me and say that they’ve got my back and I know that I’ve got their’s. So it’s good.”

It’s not as if Chase’s confidence comes from a naive lack of understanding of the responsibility of his position.

He knows it and senses the buzz and excitement around campus about a team with a new head coach and a promising young talent under center.

But any time someone mentions anything about pressure, Chase just cracks a reassuring smile.

“It’s all good,” he says. “We can handle it.”

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