One day before leading Lake Norman into the N.C. 4AA semifinals, quarterback Josh Ladowski was named N.C. Gatorade Player of the Year in football Thursday.
Ladowski and Lake Norman will play Mallard Creek at 7:30 p.m. Friday for the right to advance to the championship game.
A 5-foot-9, 185-pound senior, Ladowski has led the Wildcats to a 13-1 record. He has completed 196-of-321 attempts for 3,368 yards and 39 touchdowns, and rushed for 1,887 yards and 32 touchdowns on 285 carries.
His 5,255 total yards this season are second among N.C. High School Athletic Association players all time. Independence High’s Chris Leak, another former Gatorade N.C. Player of the Year, accounted for 5,494 total yards in 2002.
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Davidson Day QB Will Grier, who won the N.C. Gatorade award last season, has the state record for single-season total yards. In 2012, as a junior, Grier had 6,598 yards playing in the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association.
Ladowski, who has signed with North Carolina for baseball, has a 3.84 weighted GPA in the classroom. In addition to volunteering as a youth football instructor, he has donated his time on behalf of his church, as a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and as part of a care package campaign benefitting U.S. troops.
He has also mentored with a special needs student at Lake Norman on a daily basis.
“I have coached against Josh Ladowski for two years, and in my 30 years of coaching, I have honestly never seen a high school player do what this guy can do,” said Nick Bazzle, coach of rival Alexander Central High.
“I have coached some great athletes over the years, but none as difficult to defend as him. If there is another player more deserving athletically than Josh Ladowski, I would love to watch him play.”