Maddox emerging as leader for Eagles

The back-up QB has stepped up in place of injured Brenner

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WESLEY SEYFANG

Freshman quarterback Trent Maddox has stepped up as a leader for the Eagles. In his most recent win against Hillsdale, Maddox went 11-for-24 with 154 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception en route to a 28-17 win against the Chargers.

Ben Voelker, Sports Editor

On Oct. 9, in the first quarter of a game against the Ohio Dominican Panthers, Austin Brenner, star quarterback for the Ashland Eagles, fell to the ground in pain and was carted off the field with a broken tibia and fibula shortly after.

In stepped back-up quarterback Trent Maddox, athletically a true freshman due to the COVID-19 cancellation of the 2020 season. Maddox, thrust into action, did not have time to process what had just happened. For him the situation was surreal.

“There weren’t many thoughts about playing in the game because it happened so fast,” Maddox said. “You don’t have much time to think about it. But it didn’t really hit me until after the game, because you get thrown into the fire and you don’t have time to sit there and think about it.”

Despite Maddox’s best efforts to keep the team in the game, the Eagles came up short, falling to the Panthers 34-24.

“Look at the body of work he’s had in the short period of time,” head coach Lee Owens said. “Going in against the second-best defense in our conference and putting us in a situation where we actually tie it up in the fourth quarter is a pretty impressive deal.”

The very next week, the Eagles headed to Tiffin, where Maddox came up just short once again, losing 27-21 to the Dragons. Despite the loss, Maddox put up almost 400 yards of offense and gave his team a chance against the top ranked GMAC defense at the end of the game.

Because Maddox is now the starter and leader for the Eagles squad, this means he has spent a lot of time getting first team reps. He spent more time throwing routes on air and working on the mesh period with the running backs. He began to watch much more film to understand opposing defenses.

“There’s a different level of focus that came to practice,” Maddox said. “As serious as being a back-up is, the guy starting has to take it even more seriously.”

Following the loss to Tiffin, Maddox has ripped off two straight home wins against Lake Erie and Hillsdale. In the Lake Erie win, Maddox took a backseat to the run game, only attempting to throw the ball 12 times. For Maddox, the lack of emphasis on the passing game does not bother him at all.

“I couldn’t care less about my stats and how many times I throw the ball,” Maddox said. “Whether we throw the ball 12 times or 60 times, the one stat that I care about is a win.”

Owens has been impressed with what he has seen out of the young quarterback in a short amount of time, both on and off the field.

“You couldn’t ask for a better guy,” Owens said. “He’s everything you want if you’re going to trust somebody with the keys to the program. Trent is the kind of guy you’re going to trust.”

While Maddox has been given the keys to the car, he remains incredibly humble. He respects Brenner greatly, and hopes he makes a full recovery for next year.

“He’s a fearless competitor,” Maddox said. “He’s a ‘win at all cost’ kind of guy. He has endless love for his teammates and his coaches. You can learn so much from a guy like that.”