Coming into the season, Brock Purdy was to be the man under center for the Perry Pumas and that still could end up being the case. But Purdy became sick with Mano this summer and is just beginning over the illness and waiting to be cleared.
However week zero arrived for Perry taking on a tough Desert Vista team and in stepped in their back up quarterback who has not played a single down at the position in high school, sophomore D’Shayne James.
James was slated to be one of the top wide receiving targets this season for the Pumas along with his older brother Nate. But the role for D’Shayne changed as team broke camp and he was forced to step up in a hurry.
“That position was my all growing up,” said James of playing quarterback. “That’s where I played, that’s where I wanted to play and that’s where I want to proceed at playing.”
James love for the position aided in his comfort on the field as the game unfolded as he would lead his Pumas to a come-from-behind victory over Desert Vista in overtime.
“It was a nerve-wracking game and I started off pretty slow,” mentioned James. “But I came back, that’s what I am.”
“D’Shayne is an unbelievably talented kid,” said Perry head coach Preston Jones. “This was his first high school game to ever play quarterback. He didn’t take a snap last year. He was the number two all along but pushing Purdy because he is a great football player and the idea was to play both of them and have D’Shayne play receiver.”
There is no simulation for game experience. It’s one thing to know the playbook but it’s another to carry it out to the field. James learned that on the first friday night of the 2016 season and with the help of his teammates, was able to come out 1-0.
“Sometimes I get nervous and not know what I do,” stated James. “I need people to tell me to ‘get out your head. Get out your head and go on to the next play.'”
“The big thing with him is he just needs to calm down,” added Jones. “He was a deer in the headlights in the first half and once he got settled down, he was just fine. Most schools would love to be in our position and have a kid like D’Shayne James in the wings waiting.”
Purdy will be back and most likely back at quarterback which will bump James back to receiver where he will undoubtedly make an impact. For now, a rising star in the high school landscape is stepping up in a big way for his team.