Will Grier's first season as a starting varsity quarterback got off to an impressive start.
In the team's first three games at the varsity level, the 6-foot-3, 190-pound Davidson Day sophomore had passed for more than 1,100 yards and 17 touchdowns. All three were victories.
Against Fayetteville Trinity Christian on Aug. 29, Grier threw for 478 yards, putting him in fifth place in the all-time Mecklenburg County single-game passing rankings. Will said he was surprised and honored to find out about his accomplishment.
"I don't really don't pay attention to numbers," he said. "But it's really cool to be up there with (former Independence and North Carolina quarterback) Mark Maye, who's a guy I've known for a while and who's really good friends with my dad, and (former Independence and Florida quarterback) Chris Leak, a guy I used to watch on TV."
Grier said his performance this season is largely a result of the work he and his teammates put in during the summer.
"We all went that extra step - that extra mile - to get better," he said, explaining that the Patriots were intent on making an impact in their first varsity season.
Grier said the biggest improvement in his game has been growing more patient on the football field - taking the looks his receivers give him instead of going for the big play each time.
Davidson Day coach Chad Grier, who's also Will's dad, has noticed.
"The game seems to be really slowing down for him," he said. "To be a 16-year-old kid, he's doing things beyond his years right now. It comes natural to him."
Despite completing nearly 70 percent of his passes and averaging 13 yards per carry on the ground to start the year, Will isn't completely satisfied with how he's played.
One of the areas he's focusing on is limiting his interceptions, admitting that he's been disappointed about having thrown two through the first three games of the season.
"There's always room to improve," he said. "I can always fine-tune a thing here and there and keep working to get better - that's all you can do."
Chad said his son has always been a hard worker, but he noticed that he was more dedicated this offseason. He said that Will was smart about what he focused on this summer - fine-tuning mechanics instead of slinging the ball around the field.
Going through countless repetitions has helped Will and his receivers get a sense of timing, which is paying off.
"I just toss them the ball and they do their thing," said Will. "I trust my receivers. We have a connection."
Junior wide receivers Aaron Seward and Evan Gates have led the way.
Will added that he couldn't have gotten off to this kind of start without the help of his offensive line, which hadn't allowed a sack going into Sept. 9's game against Fayetteville Village Christian.
Chad agreed, explaining that he's been impressed with the undersized unit, which he admits was one of the team's concerns heading into season. He said that Nick Lamach, Lamar Briggs and Tre Hunt had all played well at the line of scrimmage.
Chad said that his Patriots have shown a lot of poise and confidence early in the season, which he believes comes from having played a tough junior varsity schedule together last year and from their offseason efforts.
"It looks like they're in mid-season form because they've put in the work all summer long," Chad said.
Davidson Day is young, having 18 underclassmen in its 25-man roster, but with talented players like Seward, Gates, speedy running back Jordan Brown and Will on the team can make them dangerous.
"It's very comforting to know we have so many guys who can help us out any given day," said Chad. "We have a lot of guys who are making plays."