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Justin Fields did not lead Harrison High to a victory this past Friday night in Rome. He went all-out against a Rome front that features three future SEC players at this time.
The Wolves were all over him. He told his team in the locker room at the half that he was going to start jumping over defenders in the second half.
That’s just what he did. Fields had two touchdowns called back in the first half due to flags, but still led his Hoyas to a 21-17 lead in the second half. Rome piled it on after that and won convincingly with a 33-21 result.
Fields finished the game 21-of-30 through the air for 230 yards and two TDs. He threw one interception on a ball he had to launch. That came on a highlight clip where he faked the nation’s No. 2 OLB Adam Anderson basically into this Tuesday.
The 5-star QB showed off his status as the nation’s No. 1 dual-threat passer by also dashing for 73 yards on his 20 carries. He also added a 12-yard scoring run in the second half.
Want to see every clip of his game against Rome? SEC Country Studios was there to capture it.
The stat line for Justin Fields so far in 2017
Harrison’s senior QB is now 32-of-48 for 457 yards with 6 TDs and 1 interceptions in 2017. He’s also added 226 rushing yards on 32 carries. That’s 7.1 yards per attempt. His three rushing scores put his total touchdown responsibility at 9 TDs through two games.
But the Hoyas fell to 1-1 on the season. It was interesting watching Fields meet with his team after the game on Friday night.
He was bothered by the loss. It affected him. That’s an admirable trait for a young man who will no doubt lead a team one day on the college level.
It had been a spring and summer where everything went right for Fields. Count me among those who feel that we learn the most about an athlete when things do not go their way.
Fields did not speak with the media afterward. But it does look like he has a camera crew following him at every game this year. It seems he will have some sort of season-long documentary to chronicle his senior year like highly-regarded UGA freshman Jake Fromm did last year at Houston County.
What did we see from Fields against Rome? I’ve collected a few different opinions on his game.
Rome High coach John Reid on Justin Fields
The state champion coach of the Wolves didn’t focus on how Fields threw the ball. But he did mention that play where he made his prized DE/OLB prospect Adam Anderson miss.
“I thought (Adam Anderson) was fantastic at times and at times I thought the other kid showed how fantastic he was. It was everything I think everybody wanted to pay and see,” Reid said.
What stood out to the guy who game-planned against Fields?
“What I think is remarkable about him is two years in a row we have hit him,” Reid said. “I mean hit him and physically put him on the ground. And two years in a row now there is no quit (in him.) That’s the biggest thing for me. There are going to be kids like him around. Big. Strong. Fast. Great arm. But what makes him different is the want to he has. His will to win. He had that team on his back in that third quarter. He had good receivers, too. Good receiver core. They have a lot better receivers than what you might think.”
Reid has seen a lot of great players and signal callers in his coaching clear. That is clear. But what does he think about Fields after facing him in back-to-back years?
“He’s as good of a competitor and a quarterback (as I’ve seen) and in the physical part,” Reid said. “He’s much better than he was last year. Last year he didn’t have that swagger. I think that swagger is an overused word but it is not a bad one for him. The reason why I am using it is that is the difference (I see) in Fields this year.”
The Rome coach said last year he got the sense that Fields didn’t really understand the true depth of his talent and ability. The big offers hadn’t all rolled in yet.
“Last year it was he was ‘Hey, look I am playing quarterback. I might be a baseball player’ and kinda like that,” Reid said. “This year that dude is large and in charge. He is a future NFL kid.”
Harrison High coach Matt Dickman on Justin Fields
Calm. Cool. Collected. Coach on the field.
Harrison coach Matt Dickman now uses all those terms to describe what he sees out of his star QB these days.
“His attitude is just really fun to coach,” Dickman said. “It is a blessing to coach because he just has that great attitude.”
It has been an evolution. He’s a senior now, but it is still hard to believe that his first scholarship offer came just 17 months ago from North Carolina. His UGA offer came back in November of last year. FSU didn’t offer him until earlier this spring.
“The only thing I’ve ever seen him do every year is grow,” Dickman said. “He works. His intelligence level for a high school player is off the charts. It is going to be fun to sit back and watch him one day.”
Dickman knows that Fields will have blue-chip players and nimble 300-pound offensive linemen around him. There will be All-American high school running backs and receivers to distribute the ball to.
Fields will have more than 1.5 seconds to get the ball off. That’s about what he had against Rome. The Wolves, without question, have the best defensive front in Georgia.
“When he has all those Division I athletes around him, he is going to be even more special,” Dickman said. “You don’t get to enjoy it as much now coaching him. You’ll have to look back on it like I did after last year.”
4-star OLB Adam Anderson on 5-star Justin Fields
Fields made Anderson look silly at least one time. But the ledger definitely seemed slanted in the Rome senior defensive end’s favor.
Anderson piled up at least 3.5 sacks on Fields and forced a fumble that was recovered in mid-air and returned for a 7-0 lead for his Wolves.
What did he think about Fields?
The nation’s No. 2 outside linebacker prospect said that he considers Fields one of the very best players he’s ever competed against.
“You can’t tell if he is going to run the ball or pass it,” Anderson said. “It makes it hard for a (defensive end) to figure that out most of the time.”
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