High School Sports

Vance QB Kingsley Ifedi, an ECU commitment, has Cougars on record run

Vance Kingsley Ifedi (12) has committed to East Carolina and led Vance to a 4-0 record
Vance Kingsley Ifedi (12) has committed to East Carolina and led Vance to a 4-0 record dlaird@charlotteobserver.com

Saturday afternoon in Charleston, S.C., Vance High senior quarterback Kingsley Ifedi had one of the best passing performances in school history.

He completed 23-of-27 passes for 367 yards and a school-record seven touchdowns in a 77-28 victory over James Island Charter School. Vance improved to 4-0 for the first time and set a record for most points in a game.

Ifedi? He continued tacking onto a season and a career that’s stacking up to be the best in his school’s 29-year history.

As a junior, Ifedi threw for a 3,213 yards and 30 touchdowns in 12 games, both of which rank in the top 25 in Mecklenburg County history and better than any Vance quarterback before him. So far this season, he’s completed 75 percent of his passes (77-of-103) for 1,451 yards and 17 touchdowns in four games. He has run 37 times for 461 yards and four more touchdowns.

“To be honest,” Vance coach Aaron Brand said, “he’s just a beast. How good is Kingsley? Kingsley’s tough. He’s bigger than everybody. That really helps, and when he runs, he’s a force.

“I don’t like him to run too much, but he’s a load to bring down.”

Ifedi, who turned 17 this month, is 6-foot-4, 217 pounds and carries a 4.3 grade-point average. He had heavy college interest from Yale and Harvard and scholarship offers from Appalachian State, Charlotte, Coastal Carolina, Georgia Southern, Georgia State and Pittsburgh. But last spring Ifedi chose East Carolina, a school where two older brothers (Casey and Jamine) attended and a school where he developed a deep relationship with Pirates coach Scottie Montgomery.

“I was never looking for the biggest school or the most prosperous school,” Ifedi said, “but I was looking for an opportunity to grow without football. From the moment I met coach Mo (Montgomery), he said even without football, I’d still have my scholarship. His word is bond. He said he’d never go back on an offer. On my unofficial visit, he was with me the whole time, back in early May. I committed in late May. I knew that’s where I wanted to go.”

Ifedi didn’t play much varsity ball his sophomore year, quarterbacking Vance’s junior varsity. But in his first start as a junior, Ifedi set a school-record for passing (440 yards) in a 56-12 season-opening victory over West Mecklenburg. His six touchdown passes tied a then 15-year-old school-record held by former Cougars star Paul Troth.

Brand knew he had a gem.

“He was good then, but he’s so comfortable now,” Brand said. “A lot of teams don’t blitz us because he can buy us time and make reads. He’s just fun to be around. It took a long time to truly convert him to quarterback, but I’ve always loved his stature and his work ethic. I knew he would get it.”

Ifedi said he still has a lot of room for improvement and can’t wait to get to practice every day.

“Man, I wanted to be out there my sophomore year,” he said, “but we had a good quarterback and I was a first-year. I was still learning. I’m still learning even now. Now, I’m starting to see the field better. The game is slowing down. I feel a lot smarter out there and being able to watch two years of film and get two years of reps, I’m making a lot more (play changes at the line of scrimmage after looking at the defensive alignments).

“Coach Brand has more confidence in me to change the play if it’s not there. Football, really, has become a lot of fun.”

Wertz: 704-358-5133; Twitter: @langstonwertzjr

Kingsley Ifedi

through 4 games