Before the season began, Columbus East football coach Bob Gaddis said that sophomore Josh Major could “do anything he wants” on a football field.
Could this be what Gaddis had in mind?
With East senior starting quarterback K.J. McCarter trying to bounce back from a pulled hamstring, the 5-foot-8, 150-pound Major could be under center for the Olympians’ rivalry game against Columbus North on Friday.
Major wasn’t an unknown commodity as Gaddis already had inserted him into the starting lineup at split end before the opening game. However, when McCarter couldn’t go, Major came to the rescue.
East downed Bloomington North 27-0, with Major hitting 10 of his 15 passes (66.7 percent) for 158 yards and a touchdown. He threw no interceptions and connected with junior wide receiver Cameron Wilson on an 84-yard touchdown pass.
He also ran 18 times for 114 yards, a 6.3 yards-per-carry average.
Oh, by the way, he also punted five times for a 32.8-yard average and returned a punt 12 yards.
Obviously, he has a lot of talent. The question now is whether he can handle the pressure of the big game.
Major said he didn’t feel out of sorts against Bloomington North, and he doubts if he will be affected by the pressure of the big game Friday against North.
“We’ve got a bunch of great leaders on this team,” he said. “I just want to do anything I can to help this team win.”
Perhaps he should have said “everything” to help the team win.
Major admits that confidence is important but added that he believes in himself because “Coach Gaddis has a lot of confidence in me.
“This is pretty important,” he said. “I want to get the job done.”
Columbus North coach Tim Bless said the Olympians don’t fall off a bit with the sophomore in the starting lineup at quarterback.
“Major is more of an Alex Cowan-type player where his running is the focal point,” Bless said. “That is going to be interesting.”
All Cowan did was lead Columbus East to the state championship in 2013.
Major isn’t trying to be Cowan. He is trying to fill a role.
“I feel like I belong,” he said. “But I definitely feel a little more pressure. The expectations are greater now, and nobody wants to let the guy next to you down.”
Major said he had a sloppy second half against Bloomington North, which kept the Olympians scoreless after they built a huge lead.
“I was not making the right reads,” he said.
It appears he has a good read on the important of the North vs. East showdown.
“Since I was 3 years old, I have been going to East football games,” he said. “I used to have a neighbor, Eric Grider, who played as a wide receiver at East. I used to watch him.”
Now he will have the ball in his hands as either a quarterback or wide receiver against North.
He said he will do well for a few reasons.
“It is about the guys around me,” he said. “And it helps to have (tailback) Steven O’Neal in the backfield.”
Although he understands the game’s importance, he said he isn’t nervous. He will follow the coaching staff’s instructions, even if Gaddis asks him to do anything or everything.
“I’ll do whatever I can,” he said.
SCHOOL: Columbus East
POSITION: Wide receiver, quarterback, punter
SIZE: 5-foot-8, 150 pounds
LAST WEEK: Major completed 10 of 15 passes for 158 yards, 1 touchdown and 0 interceptions in a 27-0 win over Bloomington North. He also ran 18 times for 114 yards, punted five times for a 32.8-yard average and returned a punt 12 yards