When Josh Major took the reins of the Columbus East offense last year, he was largely inexperienced at the position.
But after a full season under center for the Olympians and a full offseason of work, Major entered his junior season as an even more dangerous offensive threat. In Friday’s season-opening 62-7 win against Bloomington North, he threw for 114 yards and ran for 102 more.
“I’m pretty happy, but I think it was more a result of the offensive line doing a great job and then some of the receivers like Cam (Wilson) and Caleb (Voelker) making great plays,” Major said. “They do a great job just catching the ball and running routes. We have great receivers, and the line does a great job.”
With Wilson a bonafide deep threat and Voelker a consummate possession receiver, East has a pair of veterans who can catch the football. Junior tailback Jamon Hogan had a big game, as well, on Friday, so the Olympians have weapons all over the field.
As a result, the East offense has the capability to put a lot of points on the scoreboard.
“I think it can be pretty explosive if we just execute the way we want to,” Major said. “We just have to work together as a team like we’ve been doing.”
As a sophomore last year, Major completed 74 percent of his passes (86 of 116) for 1,435 yards and 17 touchdowns, with only one interception. He also ran for 979 yards and 13 scores.
That came despite moving from wide receiver to quarterback just before the start of the season following a hamstring injury to K.J. McCarter.
“(Major has) had a whole summer of playing quarterback,” East coach Bob Gaddis said. “Last year, he didn’t have that. This year, he’s had that, and it’s really paid off for him because he really has command of our offense.”
But Gaddis said in the preseason that he wants to continue to be a run-first offense.
“We still want to be a team that’s able to run the football to set up the pass,” Major said. “So if we have to pass a little more, that’s good. But if we just have to keep handing the ball off … whatever it takes to win.”
While not a traditional dropback passer, Major can throw the ball on the run. He also is adept at play-action.
Gaddis said he has designed the emphasis of the offense on what Major can do.
“When we’ve had dropback-type guys, we’ve changed what we’ve done a little bit, but we’ve designed it with what his skill levels are,” Gaddis said. “He’s a fun young man to coach not only because he’s a dual threat, but because he’s so competitive. He loves to play football and get after it. He’s a student of the game. He’s a good enough thrower, and he’s a really good runner and he understands what we’re trying to do.”
This week, Major will get his second start against crosstown rival Columbus North. The Olympians beat the Bull Dogs 28-21 last season.
This year, he’ll be going into a hostile environment to play North on the road.
“It should be a great atmosphere on Friday night,” Major said. “Obviously, it’s a little bit bigger to everyone in the community, but to us, we’re just preparing like it’s another game.”
Name: Josh Major
School: Columbus East
Sports: Football, baseball
Favorite sport: Football
Other activities: National Honor Society, Student Assembly, Key Club