When a young man becomes the starting quarterback for his high school football team, that will likely be one of the highlights of his athletic career.
When he loses that position just a few games into the season, that’s at the other end of the spectrum.
Midland Valley’s Trenton Baughman went through such a situation last year, when head coach Rick Knight made the decision in the team’s fourth game to replace the then junior with freshman Daniel Carr.
“It wasn’t a big conversation; it happened in the middle of a game,” Knight said of the switch that happened for good at halftime of the team’s game against Silver Bluff in Week Four last season. “He wanted to continue to work at it, and he had worked hard during the summer and so on. But it just wasn’t clicking.”
Knight said that athletically, Baughman had everything a coach would look for in a quarterback, and he put in the effort to be good. The Mustang offense just didn’t move with Baughman behind center.
That changed with Carr. Midland Valley hung with the Bulldogs in the second half of a 17-7 loss, and after throwing a touchdown pass, Carr appeared to score a rushing touchdown – negated by a penalty – that would have made the game even tighter. The Mustangs went on to win four of their final six games of the regular season and secure a playoff berth, and it was that success that made the move easier to stomach, according to Baughman.
“At first I was upset because I wasn’t really getting any playing time, but then I understood because we started winning,” he said.
Carr came into this season as the incumbent starter at quarterback, but Knight wasn’t through with Baughman. Once last season was over, he talked with the rising senior – listed at 6-foot-2 and 165 pounds – about lining up at receiver across from 6-4, 200-pound junior Kameron Brown.
“Talking to him and stuff the rest of the school year, you know just trying to convince him, ‘Hey, with Kameron on one side, and you on the other side, you could end up being a pretty big weapon,’” Knight said. “He’s had some drops but more catches than not, and makes good catches.”
Baughman said that Knight’s confidence in his ability as a receiver was the driving force behind the switch.
“He always knew I could catch ... and then it started progressing from there,” Baughman said.
In the early weeks of the season, Baughman has flourished in the Mustang offense. Brown got hurt in the second half of the team’s opener against North Augusta and missed last week’s win over Allendale-Fairfax, but even before then, Baughman had become a favorite target for Carr, according to Knight.
Baughman is the team’s leading receiver with five catches for 100 yards and two scores, and as much as he wanted to play quarterback, catching his pair of touchdown passes has been enjoyable.
“It feels pretty good, everyone cheering you on,” he said. “It’s definitely something.”
Jeremy Timmerman has a journalism degree from Mercer University and has been at the Aiken Standard since June 2010.