Talented QB back to lead Elizabeth Forward offensive attack
TribLIVE Sports Videos
When Mike LeDonne returned to Elizabeth Forward a couple of years back, he figured it would take five years to get the Warriors back on track.
That thought came well before JaQuan Davidson showed up.
Davidson transferred from McKeesport three weeks before LeDonne's second season and immediately turned a “putrid” offense into one of the most dynamic in the WPIAL and accelerated that five-year program into two years by making the playoffs for the first time in seven seasons.
Now LeDonne and Elizabeth Forward want more — such as a first home playoff game in school history — and know Davidson has to be the guy to lead them.
“Don't fix it if it isn't broke, and we are going to do what we do,” LeDonne said. “JaQuan makes plays, and we are going to ride him as much as we can.”
Elizabeth Forward won six of its last seven games to qualify for the playoffs last year before falling to Franklin Regional in the first round of the WPIAL playoffs.
The success can be traced to Davidson's junior season when he rushed for 1,007 yards and 14 touchdowns and threw for 590 yards and four touchdowns. Those numbers have translated into at least a dozen scholarship offers.
And they've also translated into a lot more attention on the field.
Or, as LeDonne said, “He's not going to sneak up on anybody this year.”
That might be true, but Davidson also had a full offseason to get better at a position he hadn't played since eighth grade.
“Anytime you have an offseason to work with the young man, it is only going to benefit you and him,” LeDonne said. “We had time in the offseason where we could work on the passing game. He understands more. Last year, he probably didn't understand a lot of what we wanted to do as far as the progressions and options he had available.”
LeDonne spent the offseason adding a couple of well-guarded dimensions and twists to an offense that doubled its point production from 11.1 points per game to 22.3 in one year.
“We have to make sure that they just can't key on one person,” LeDonne said.
That's where the Warriors' other threats come in, most notably running back Ryan Wardropper, all-purpose back Jaylen French and receivers Matt Bernadowski and Jake Meyers.
Add those players to a line that returns three starters, and the offense has a chance to be even better than last year's.
“I am trying to stress to them that they aren't going to sneak up on anybody this year,” LeDonne said. “They know what we have coming back, and they are going to be ready for it.”
LeDonne will have to try to replace Rex Pearce, Max Strotman and Anthony Hill on defense.
“We have our work cut out for us,” LeDonne said. “Teams will be ready for us. I knew the team was hungry last year. The wins and losses never surprise me. We want to build a program here, and we still have a long way to go.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- High school notebook: WPIAL adjusts to accommodate Armstrong merger
- Pine-Richland falls short in PIAA Class AAAA final
- Pine-Richland has new look for defending champ St. Joseph’s Prep
- Archbishop Wood runs past Central Valley in PIAA Class AAA final
- Gorman: South Fayette has a ‘No Fly’ zone
- Gorman: Central Valley’s life after death
- Gorman: Gastion goes deep for Pine-Richland
- Clairton, Bishop Guilfoyle football teams match vaunted defenses
- Cal Area opens Teets’ job after two seasons
- Clairton falls short vs. Bishop Guilfoyle in PIAA Class A title game
- Close loss in title game cannot diminish Clairton’s ‘great season’