NORTH AUGUSTA — The setting wasn’t an overly intense one, but North Augusta quarterback Trib Reece gave a glimpse of what was to come for his junior season in the Aiken County Football Jamboree.
In the first 10 minutes of the frame, he completed all six passes he threw for more than 100 yards and three touchdowns. Even when the defense had a route seemingly covered, he calmly tossed the pass just past outstretched fingertips to his receivers.
That trend has continued for the junior, the area’s leading passer, who attributes his calmness and poise to the guys in front of him.
“I’m basically playing with the same line I played with last year, so we’ve got a bunch of chemistry going on,” he said.
That relationship has paid off in the regular season, with Reece completing 72 percent of his passes (150-for-209) for 2,034 yards, 28 touchdowns and only four interceptions in 10 games. Head coach Dan Pippin said his playing ability allows him to be a leader on the team without having to yell or raise the energy level.
“He leads by example; he’s going to be a kid who’s going to be here all the time,” Pippin said. “Obviously, I think it helps him that the kids know he’s really good.”
Reece began showing his teammates how good he could be as a freshman, but he got his first real chance to impress during his sophomore campaign. After splitting time with senior Cody Turner for the first several weeks, Turner got hurt in the team’s loss to Sumter. Reece led them to a lopsided victory over Grovetown (Ga.) and then showed out in the Jackets’ region opener against Lexington, completing nine of 11 passes for 255 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
“I just knew I had to step up and we had to win some ballgames here, so I just did my best,” he said.
His best effort hasn’t gone unnoticed.
The 6-foot-3, 190-pound junior already has letters of interest from the football programs at Georgia, Auburn, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Florida State and Clemson. Pippin joked that he could be forced to visit some of those programs with his quarterback, particularly for games.
“It’s going to be fun with him,” Pippin said.
Reece’s eyes aren’t looking that far ahead, though.
“I’ve still got a bunch of time left, so I guess I’ll start worrying about that... next year,” he said.
For now, he’s focused on defending region champion Dutch Fork and the pending Class AAAA, Division II playoffs. His goal for the rest of the season had nothing to do with personal statistics or boosting his profile for college.
“Just to make it all the way to the state,” he said. “Every game is a playoff game from here on out.”
And it’s not as though he has to wait until after high school to experience a measure of fame. Right now, he’s learning to handle the same unique pressures and attention that former Jacket quarterbacks like Loranzo Hammonds and Tyrell Hillary faced before him.
“He’s the face of the program. ... You’re it; you’re the guy. And at North Augusta, that’s a big deal,” Pippin said, noting that Reece’s family helps keep him grounded. “Little kids will come up to Trib after games and get an autograph and stuff because they know, ‘Hey, he’s that quarterback.’”
Jeremy Timmerman has a journalism degree from Mercer University and has been at the Aiken Standard since June 2010.