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Rasey ready to take over at QB for Flashes

August 26, 2013
By JOE SIMON - Tribune Chronicle ( , Underthelights

CHAMPION - Champion senior Jacob Rasey isn't afraid to admit that he took some beatings back in the day.

The youngest of three brothers, Jacob grew up in a family of athletes. His oldest brother, Jimmy, was the all-time leading rusher in Trumbull County until De'Veon Smith broke his record last year. Justin Rasey, a 2011 Champion graduate, started at fullback and linebacker for Champion just a few seasons ago.

Jacob, now the starting quarterback for the Golden Flashes, is following in their footsteps.

At 5-feet-5 and 160 pounds, he understands he faces a distinct size advantage against nearly everyone on the field, but he said some sibling rivalries when he was a child prepared him for this situation.

"It definitely makes you have a better understanding of the game and be able to go out there and take the physical abuse," said Jacob of playing against his older brothers as a kid. "They're a lot bigger than me out there - every single person. I go up every game, and I see all these kids, and they're bigger than me, but I know I can take a beating. I've had a lot of work, a lot of conditioning and taken some beatings from my older brothers. I was always the smallest one, but I've got used to it, and it's definitely helped out in the long run."

His coach is reaping the rewards.

Terry Howell said it was an easy decision to move Rasey to quarterback after last year's starter, James Naylor, graduated. Rasey played under center as a freshman and sophomore and saw some varsity time. He moved to fullback last year because Howell said it was the best fit for the team to have him and 1,000-yard rusher Michael Cyrus in the backfield together.

His transition back to quarterback has been seamless, mainly because Champion's offense plays to his strengths, Howell said. The Golden Flashes run what's called a veer option, which gives the quarterback three choices: hand off to the fullback up the middle, run the ball himself or pitch it to the tail back. He also could roll out and pass the ball.

Howell said Jacob's skill set will make it difficult for opponents to know what's coming.

"He's going to make a read on the defensive end," Howell explained. "He'll make the decision whether to give it or keep it and come out on the option. He's a smart kid. He understands the game, he makes the correct reads and when he doesn't, he still has the ability to make something happen that's positive."

That ability comes from his physical attributes. Rasey runs the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds, bench presses 300 pounds, squats 500 and dead lifts another 500. The power-lifting champion also possesses a strong arm, Howell said, and he's worked to improve his mechanics after a year away from playing quarterback.

"He has a great arm," Howell said. "We aren't going to go deep with him, obviously, but with what we want to do, with the sprint-out pattern and running the flood routes, the waggles and the boots, he fits that mold perfectly. And he obviously gives you a threat on the edge.

"If there's nothing there, he can make something out of nothing."

Offense isn't the only position Rasey will make an impact. The middle linebacker led the team in tackles last year with 98 and also made 10 tackles for loss. Howell, entering his fifth season as coach, called Rasey "one of the best reading linebackers I've had." He raved about Rasey's ability to find the ball carrier and how hard the undersized player can hit. Rasey again reverted back to his youth.

"I started when I was in kindergarten, so it's normal to go with the flow," said Rasey, who added that his brotherly battles keep him from being intimidated by bigger running backs. "When we were younger, we used to kill each other competing over every little thing. It was a blood bath between all of us. It was intimidating for friends and family who didn't see us that much. They were kind of scared of us."

They were still competing just a few years ago. In one of Jacob's first game, as a sophomore, he got to play side by side next to Justin at linebacker.

"It was definitely a fun experience because I ended up with more tackles than him," Jacob said with a laugh. "He ended up with 10 tackles and I had 13 in that game. He wasn't too happy about it. For my first game out, it wasn't too bad. We ended up with the loss, but I still got to rub it in his face forever. I still do."

Boys will be boys.


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