Last year, Alex Crosby played a key role on defense for a South Iredell team that won the N.C. High School Athletic Association 2AA state championship.This year, Crosby has been asked to shift roles, taking over at quarterback as the Vikings look to repeat as state champs in a new classification and a new conference.For just about any other player, such a move would mean learning a whole new position and responsibilities; for Crosby, it’s been more like a refresher course.“When I started playing football (at age 5 in youth leagues), I came up playing quarterback all the way through to middle school,” said Crosby, who was also South Iredell’s backup quarterback in 2012.“Getting used to the timing was the main thing, that and the speed that Coach (Scott) Miller likes to run our offense was another. He wants us to get as many snaps on offense as we can during the game. It took me a couple of weeks.”Crosby had been the Vikings’ starting quarterback on the junior varsity team as a freshman but missed all of his sophomore year with broken bones in his right ankle.When he was back at full strength, Crosby found himself on South Iredell’s varsity – and facing competition at quarterback from senior Davin King, who eventually won the starting job.“I knew Davin was a good quarterback, and I knew I would have to be running the offense pretty good to be the starter as a junior,” Crosby said. “I took the opportunity and did everything I possibly could to become a better quarterback down the road.”Instead of keeping Crosby on the sidelines, however, Miller put him on the Vikings’ defense as a linebacker. He was tied for sixth on the team in tackles with 52, and also had two interceptions, 1.5 sacks, three tackles for loss and a fumble recovery.Still, Crosby saw some action on offense last season as well, coming in at quarterback in two games – and helped South Iredell win both.“He’s too good an athlete to have him sit on the sidelines as a backup quarterback,” Miller said. “We had him out there playing linebacker, started every game for us at outside linebacker, and did well at it.“But we knew going into this season he was going to be leaving the defense to play quarterback. He’s a very unselfish player, and he’s going to do whatever we ask of him to help the team be successful.”So far, Crosby has kept the Vikings – ranked No. 14 in the Observer’s Sweet 16 poll as of Sept. 10 – on course.Through South Iredell’s first three games (all wins), Crosby has thrown for 476 yards and nine touchdowns, including a season-best 226 yards and five TDs in a 38-6 victory over Starmount on Sept. 6. He’s also rushed for 79 yards.“We knew he was very capable,” Miller said. “He’s played the position quite a bit in his life. … We knew this year, coming into the season, that he’d been a pretty good quarterback for us.”While the Vikings have had two easy wins – against Starmount, and their season opener against South Rowan (a 44-9 victory on Aug. 23) – it was their second game that provided Crosby with a confidence-builder.South Iredell pulled out a 14-12 win over Hickory, a former state 3A champion, on Aug. 30. While Crosby didn’t have his best game – 94 yards passing, 25 rushing – it did give him a taste of the competition the Vikings would face at their new classification.“We all got an awakening,” against Hickory, Crosby said. “We were satisfied with the win, but we weren’t happy with the way we played, if that makes any sense. But we knew that stepping up wasn’t going to be easy for us, but we’re ready to take on the challenge.”South Iredell has another challenge with a new conference – the North Piedmont 3A/4A, which has long-time county rivals Statesville, West Iredell, North Iredell, Lake Norman and Mooresville, along with newcomers Alexander Central and North Lincoln.“We’re just kind of taking it game by game, prevailing and getting better and better as the season goes along,” Crosby said. “We’re hoping that once the playoffs get here, we’ll be rolling on both teams (offense and defense) to make it through the playoffs. That’s what we’d like to do.”
Sunday, Sep. 22, 2013
Shifting role for Vikings’ Crosby
Kiser: 704-895-3662; Twitter: @BKiser_CLTObs.
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