Written by Matt Wixon
Wixon: Skyline senior Sederian Copeland helping set new QB standard in Dallas ISD
Devante Kincade was the star quarterback for Skyline last season, but backup Sederian Copeland got some rave reviews. Receiver Ra’Shaad Samples talked to his father, Skyline coach Reginald Samples, about Copeland’s strong arm.
“It’s stronger than Devante’s,” said Ra’Shaad, who is now a receiver at Oklahoma State.
Coach Samples wasn’t sure about that.
“You don’t have to catch his passes every day,” Ra’Shaad said.
Reginald Samples is now sure that Copeland can throw passes hard, and accurately, as the starter for Skyline. The senior has completed 54 of 83 passes for 925 yards and 12 touchdowns and hasn’t thrown an interception.
Other quarterbacks from the Dallas ISD are also putting up some nice numbers. Bryan Adams’ Jordan Harvey, Lincoln’s Trevon Donnell and South Oak Cliff’s Kenneth Arthur II are all throwing for more than 200 yards per game and have combined for 34 touchdowns with only four interceptions.
That’s a lot of passing for teams that, if you rewind five years or so, ran offenses as vintage as VHS tapes. But Dallas ISD teams are learning, and embracing, the spread.
“The spread offense is in the little leagues and the junior highs now. They’re all running it out there,” Reginald Samples said. “And there’s more access to camps and more access to training.”
Most Class 4A and 5A schools have run versions of the spread for more than a decade, but the offense is about more than spreading out receivers and slinging the ball. The coaches and the players need experience with it, in games and training, to make it work.
One advantage for suburban schools is that they often have quarterbacks and receivers who have trained at camps for years before they reach high school. They’re part of spread offenses at their middle schools and junior highs.
The spread offenses are now run throughout the Dallas ISD, and the results are trickling up to high school level. Skyline, the preeminent Dallas ISD football program with 16 playoff wins in the last six seasons, has produced back-to-back college quarterbacks Javia Hall (UT-El Paso) and Kincade (Mississippi).
Copeland, who has passed for more yards in four games than Skyline did in all of 2006, could be Skyline’s third straight quarterback to play in college. His arm is certainly strong enough, but just as important, he’s had years of experience in a college-like offense.
“I’ve been working on my reads since eighth grade,” he said. “Figuring out the coverages.”
That’s the early experience quarterbacks need to succeed. South Oak Cliff coach Emmett Jones said DISD athletic director Jeff Johnson has helped by getting players and teams invited to clinics and camps.
“That’s priceless,” Jones said. “It’s getting more even now [with the suburbs]. We pretty much have the same access as those schools. We might not have the same resources, but we have the access.”
The resources of the suburban schools will keep the playing field uneven. But by advancing with the game, more Dallas ISD teams have a chance to stay on the playing field deeper in the playoffs.
“Before, we ran the ball so much that the whole idea of developing quarterbacks wasn’t as important,” Samples said. “But even if you can run it, they’ll load up the box and make you pass. The direction of the sport is that if you’re one-dimensional, you’re going to get beat.”
Follow Matt Wixon on Twitter @mattwixon.