Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Born to play QB at Celina, 15-year-old grows up fast
CELINA (11-0) VS. HENDERSON (10-2) 6 p.m. today, Mesquite Memorial Stadium
It was not long ago that Nathan Elliott was cheering his Celina Bobcats from a seat in the stadium.
Born and raised a Bobcat, the kid transitioned from the stands to the field. Celina’s starting quarterback turned 15 two weeks ago.
Even Elliott is surprised by the metamorphosis.
“It’s amazing seeing those little kids cheering when we’re going through the victory tunnel,” Elliott said. “I’m thinking, ‘That used to be me.’”
Instead, Elliott is calling signals to players he once cheered. His Bobcats play Henderson in the Class 3A Division I quarterfinals Friday.
Few know the Bobcats’ offense better than Elliott, who has been immersed in it his entire life. His father is offensive coordinator Bill Elliott.
“Celina football, he’s been around it since he was born,” Bill Elliott said. “He grew up in our system. This has always been his goal.”
But earning the starting quarterback job on a perennial power at age 14?
“It’s really kind of phenomenal,” Bill said. “He’s really done a great job handling the pressure.”
Nathan Elliott, who is a freshman, said his nervousness fades with each game. And the numbers he’s putting up are increasing.
With running back Jamarick Simmons limited with a leg injury the last two weeks, Elliott compensated with a bigger impact.
He rushed for 141 yards and two touchdowns and passed for another score in a 42-21 victory over Sanger in the first round.
Then last week he accounted for 305 yards in a 37-17 victory over Lovejoy. He rushed for 178 yards, threw for 127 and scored all five touchdowns.
The most important thing, according to head coach Butch Ford and Elliott’s dad, is to keep things simple.
“We’re not asking him to carry the team on his shoulders,” Ford said. “It’s absolutely hard to handle. The boy had a birthday a couple of weeks ago to turn 15. But it’s not a fluke. What people don’t know is that he has worked hard. He earned his spot.”
For the season, Elliott has completed 79 of 162 passes for 1,224 yards with 21 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He has rushed for 555 yards and nine touchdowns.
And if the Bobcats lose, chances are good their quarterback will shed tears.
“I cried last year watching,” he said. “I’m a Bobcat; I love seeing them win.”