JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A warm, but beautiful day with TIAA Bank Field in downtown Jacksonville serving as the backdrop, over 100 quarterbacks from both tackle, and girls flag football took part in the Jacksonville Jaguars’ second-ever High School Quarterback Skills Challenge on Saturday afternoon.
The event which was sponsored by Jaguars Prep, the high school outreach arm of the Jaguars along with 6 Points Quarterback Training of Jacksonville, quarterbacks from the junior high level all the way to starting quarterbacks at the varsity level competed in a skills challenge featuring different six different stations including being able to show arm strength to being able to accurately hitting your targets while passing.
The event featured several special guest speakers including new Jaguars HC Doug Pederson and running back and special teams contributor Jamal Agnew who is recovering from an injury that he suffered in Week 11 of the 2021 season.
For Pederson, who spend over a decade in the National Football League as a back up quarterback including the likes of Brett Farve and Donovan McNabb, this event was right up his alley, giving a cheerful message to the athletes participating in one of his events representing the Jaguars since being name the head coach on Feb. 4, 2022.
Pederson told the athletes that it was exciting to see them out there for the event seeing it as great opportunity. He was especially encourage to see around 20 females, who compete in girls flag football for teams in the local Jacksonville-area, show up to compete.
However, Pederson came with a message for all of the athletes participating about creating energy and regarding the distractions that are going on for today’s athletes.
“Create energy every single day. Every time you wake up and you go to school, you step on the football field, or step on a baseball diamond or softball diamond, or whatever you are doing, you create that energy every single day,” Pederson said regarding creating energy.
However, Pederson’s message about distractions seemed more important to him as he works to rebuild the Jaguars franchise.
”Eliminate distractions. There is too many distractions in our world right now to keep us from being successful, keeping you from being successful. One of them might just be social media. Might be the friends you are hanging out with. What ever it might be eliminate those so you can focus on your goal and that is to be the best,” Pederson said.
For Pederson’s full opening remarks to the event, see the video here:
For Agnew, he was encouraged to see the next generation of athletes out on the field competing in the Quarterback Skills Challenge.
“It’s a blast to be honest to come out here. To get to watch some football, watch the next generation come out here and compete. Most importantly have fun. Honestly, its a good networking opportunity. Like I told them you are meeting all these kids from different cities, different high schools and you never you might compete some of these guys in college or end up playing in the next level,” Agnew said.
However, Agnew was very upbeat about seeing female quarterbacks out there along with the guys.
”I love that to be honest, I have two older sisters that used to whip me in every sport. I think that is kind of why I am the player I am today because every sport it was, you know, football, basketball, they used to ruff me up a little bit. It is great to see the women out competing with the guys,” Agnew said.
For Adriel Rocha, Director of the Jaguars Foundation and Community Impact told the athletes that after having only 49 quarterbacks compete in the first challenge ever done last year, that he had to shut off registration after four days. He attributed that to the success of the event last season.
For 6 Points Jacksonville founder Denny Thompson, the event meant an opportunity to see where quarterbacks could stack up with each other.
”More than anything, it provides an opportunity for each quarterback to see where they stack up with other quarterbacks in the high school game … both local and regional,” Thompson said.
As for his relationship with the Jaguars he is appreciative of everything that the organization has done.
“It’s really special to continue to develop the relationship between 6 Points and Jaguars Prep. It shows the commitment that the Jaguars have to the local community and the appreciation they have for the student athletes in high school,” Thompson said.
At the end of the event while the volunteer coaches helped determine a winner for both the male and female divisions a “Top Gun” event selecting one quarterback from each of the six groups to compete to win some prizes.
And as determined, the winners for the event ended up being Dakota Hills from Green Cove Springs Clay for the female division. Hills who is a junior for the Blue Devils’ flag football team competed was only one of two females to compete in the event last year and was a repeat participant.
You can listen below to Hills talk about her participation in the event.
For the male division, Emorej Terry of Jacksonville Andrew Jackson who was the backup quarterback this past season to Jalen Sonier won the male division.
The next big event for the Jacksonville Jaguars will be the 2022 Girls Flag Football Preseason Jamboree next weekend on Sat. March 5 with 24-area teams taking part in the event.