Inside the BRD: Sperling won't QB for Grafton football team but PJ Jackson will

Evan Sperling said that he does not plan to play football at Grafton High this season, so that he can focus on baseball - the sport he has committed to play at the University of Virginia - and basketball. His decision, and some lobbying by Grafton players, has prompted P.J. Jackson to try and win the starting quarterback job this season.

Sperling, a rising junior, finished the season as Grafton's starting quarterback, completing 20 passes and throwing for 321 yards and three touchdowns in the Region I Division 4 playoff loss at King George. Jackson started several games at QB in 2012, completing 40 of 78 passes for 442 yards and five touchdowns.

"I was not going to play, because I did not want to get hurt for baseball and basketball," said Jackson, a 6-0, 195-pound rising senior. "And there's also the Grafton quarterback `Curse.' "

Jackson is referring to the fact that Grafton's starting QBs - Joe Cibrin, Robbie Hiser and Jett Johnson - each has suffered a season-ending injury the past three seasons.

"But (teammates) Garrett Reese and Bryan Mitchell asked me last week to continue playing," Jackson said. "I figure it's my senior year and it's going to be fun.

"We've got a new coach (Matt McLeod) and I'll have to adapt. The other players said that he's going to be hard on us and not let us slack off, so I think we can win a lot of games this year.

"We'll be young at some positions but we have a lot of returning lineman and linebackers. We have some returning receivers - Reese, Mitchell, Tyrell Noel - and it will help that I'm already familiar with them."

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