From receivers Nick Miller and Xavier Borishade, to running back J’Vonte Herrod, to defensive standouts Shaun Daniels, Hakeem Sawyer, Eghosa Agbonghae, Cameron Albright and Emmanuel Slaughter, the Warriors had the type of talent most teams would dream to have.
Also included in the plethora of playmakers was sophomore quarterback Tyler Queen, who blossomed into the catalyst for North Cobb’s offensive attack.
With 165 completions in 293 attempts for 2,607 yards and 23 touchdowns, Queen guided North Cobb to an 11-3 record and a region runner-up finish after the team finished 5-6 in 2011. He also carried the ball 163 times for 925 yards and 20 touchdowns, making him not only a dual-threat success, but the 2012 Marietta Daily Journal/Cobb County Football Offensive Player of the Year.
“I’m really honored to be offensive player of the year, but not surprised because I worked really hard in the offseason and during the season to be the best player I could be,” Queen said. “I respect all of the guys in the county, and there are so many talented players that I know anyone of us could have gotten this.
“It was a crazy year, and I’m just glad I was part of the team that got my dad his first playoff win and first trip to the semifinals. We worked hard all year. I had great playmakers and receivers, the coaching staff put us in position to execute some great plays and the offensive line really gets a lot of the credit because they gave me time to throw the ball and opened up holes for us.”
Queen’s father and coach, Shane Queen, credited Tyler’s improvement to his years of experience and offseason preparation. Because Tyler started as a freshman, the game slowed down for him this season, and his overall work ethic did the rest.
“He’s been around this all his life,” the elder Queen said. “He grew up with it, and he’s been with our system for five years. That’s a huge amount of time to grow, and his decision-making from this year to last year was huge. Tyler’s a smart football player who picks up things quickly, and I’m really proud of him for what he’s accomplished.”
One of the things the younger Queen worked on during the offseason was his speed and footwork. At 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds, he was a hard to bring down on the run, and the read-option spread offense the Warriors ran demanded a versatile type of quarterback.
“I was originally all arm and more of a pocket passer,” Queen said. “I’m not the fastest guy, but I worked on some things in the offseason to increase my speed and people started taking notice.”
One Football Bowl Subdivision program, Middle Tennessee State, has already noticed and offered Queen a scholarship Saturday.
With help from his father and offensive coordinator Tim Clark, Queen is looking forward to more success. Even though the Warriors lost 63-42 to Lovejoy in the Class AAAAAA semifinals, the season turned out to be a special one for him.
“It’s one of the greatest things playing for my dad,” he said. “We get to spend a lot of time together, so it’s very cool, and getting that close to the (championship game at the Georgia) Dome was one of the greatest experiences of my life.”
There should certainly be more chances for success to come, if Queen’s father has anything to say about it.
“When you have a good year early on like Tyler did, you have to make sure that you don’t get complacent,” Shane Queen said. “That’s what I keep telling him. You have to continue to work on things in the offseason like footwork and reads and decision-making and accuracy.
“There’s a lot of room for growth for him and any other player. It’s my job, and coach Clark’s job, to help get him there.”