Deonte Black knew he would need to be a leader for this year's Mooresville football team.
But the Blue Devils' senior quarterback, in his first-year as a starter, didn't know it would all happen fast.
In his first varsity start, Black, 17, led the Blue Devils to a 21-14 win and ended West Rowan's 46-game winning streak (longest in the nation).
"I wasn't really expecting to do all of that in my first start," said Black. "But I never got down on myself. I knew I would be ready when the time came for me to play."
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Black's debut at quarterback didn't come without a few butterflies and tense moments.
"At first, Deonte was a little nervous," said Coach Hal Capps. "But after his first big run, you could see him settle down and then he just got better and better as the game wore on."
Black and company earned the signature victory the hard way. They came back from a 14-0 halftime deficit.
Black accounted for all three touchdowns, including the game-winner, a 26-yard scamper with 3:44 left in the game.
"We called the same play two times in a row, a play designed for me to run the ball," said Black. "I like having the ball and the game in my hands."
Black passed for 107 yards and a touchdown. He ran for 119 yards and two scores.
The senior quarterback started the rally with a seven-yard run for a score, then tied the game by finding wide receiver Shawn Lester in the corner of the end zone.
"We called a slant and up for Shawn," Black said. "I pumped faked the ball and then they got some pressure on me, so I just threw it up where Shawn was supposed to be and he made a great catch."
While things are moving quickly for Black this year, his career at Mooresville hasn't gone exactly the way he planned. Black sat behind all I-Meck star, Patrick O'Brien (now at UNC Pembroke) last season, playing only spot duty on offense. He also played at other positions.
"With Patrick starting, (Deonte) wanted to help the team in any way he could," Capps said. "Even though he didn't play a lot, he was a great teammate. He kept hustling every day in practice and kept working hard in the weight room. That is the type of guy he is."
Black's perseverance paid off as he earned the starting nod early in the offseason.
Capps says Black isn't the "rah rah" type of guy, and is "very quiet," preferring to let his play on field, speak. His blazing speed also speaks for itself. Capps says Black has regularly clocked at 4.3 seconds in the 40-yard dash.
That helps Black a lot because he's about 5-foot-8, 160 pounds, "dripping wet," Capps said.
With the West Rowan win under his belt and Mooresville's total transformation from a 0-11 team in 2009 to an 8-4 playoff team in 2010, Capps' first season, the immediate future looks bright.
Black said one of his goals this year is to earn a college scholarship or possibly a spot as a walk-on.
"(Deonte Black) is a kid that you can always count on," Capps said. "He never misses a practice or a workout, he is never late. He is a great leader for our team."