As the Carrollton High School football program marches into Year 3 of the Sean Calhoun era, there will be a transition of leadership for the Trojan offense.
Following the graduation of three-year starter Mark Wright, the Carrollton head man will turn the keys of his attack over to a new trigger man in 2018, although there should be a good bit of familiarity there to help make it a smooth adjustment period.
After Wright went down with an injury midway through the 2017 season, then-sophomore Kashif Taylor emerged into the starting role and helped guide the Trojans to the state quarterfinals as the No. 2 seed out of Region 7.
With Taylor returning as an upperclassmen and bringing that invaluable postseason experience with him, it gives him a leg-up in the race for the starting job when the season opens on Aug. 24 against East Coweta in the West Georgia Kickoff Classic.
"Experience is one of those things that they've got it or they don't have it," Calhoun said. "Kashif taking us to Game 13 last year, getting that kind of experience and those game repetitions, that's priceless. You could definitely tell he was comfortable all through spring and he was definitely our No. 1 out of spring and has had a good summer."
Taylor has some quality talent pushing him in the form of sophomore Kyle Wnuck and freshman Myles Morris.
As one of the top-rated quarterbacks in the state of Georgia for the Class of 2022, Morris has the potential to be something special by the time he wraps up his prep career, while Wnuck also has a high ceiling as an underclassmen.
For now, though, Calhoun said the two younger guys are still learning the system and all three are working to become better team leaders.
"They are a good bunch of kids who are very coachable, and that's what you want at that position," Calhoun said. "They're always eager to learn and get better. They're just working hard, and that's always a good thing."
Taylor said the opportunity to step in and get a feel for the varsity game, especially playing in the pressure of the postseason atmosphere, provided a tremendous boost of confidence moving forward.
"I'm very confident and more comfortable because last year I came in halfway through. I feel better now starting off the season and I know I can get everything right," Taylor said.
The southpaw gun-slinger also noted how gaining the support of his teammates during that time was critical and he's eager to take the next step and become a team leader in 2018.
"They believed in me more than anybody. The O-line, and the whole offense, really, but the O-line was unbelievable," Taylor said.
Morris is also excited about the upcoming season, noting how he's getting more comfortable with the system by the day.
"It's going good. We're coming together well. We're really clicking," Morris said. "We just need to work on controlling the offense and being more vocal."
With the start of official practice kicking off this week, the Trojan coaching staff will get a good look at all three quarterbacks during the scrimmage against Bremen on Aug. 9 at Grisham Stadium before the season opener on Aug. 24 at the University of West Georgia.
As a former quarterback at both the prep and college level, Calhoun stressed that one of the primary demands of the position is consistency.
"Consistency with knowing what to do, consistency with our throws, our run-game steps and consistency with moving the team down the field," Calhoun said. "Obviously, as an offensive mindset our job is to go score. So we want to see which ones are going to be the most consistent in doing that."
Another component to being the quarterback at Carrollton High School is the responsibility of being a leader on and off the field and holding yourself and your teammates to a higher standard.
"It's not just when we're here in the weight room, here in the field house or out here at practice or even on Friday nights. It's being a quarterback all the time," Calhoun said. "You have football players that are playing quarterback and then you have quarterbacks who are playing quarterback. To me, that's a glaring difference. It's just being that guy, the face of the program all the time. That's what we want in our guy because that is the guy that everything evolves around."
For his part, Taylor wants to be that guy. He added that while he's looking forward to big-time region matchups against Villa Rica and Rome, he's maintaining his focus on the big picture and the ultimate mission for 2018.
"I think we can go very far. I think we can make it all the way to Game 15," Taylor said.