Aaron Swafford didn’t know he was going to be starting at quarterback for Meigs County High School this season until the week of the first varsity game. When he did get the nod, the freshman was well prepared. Less than two months earlier, Swafford competed in his third Duel and finished first among incoming high school freshmen. “I mean, you’ve got some of the best quarterbacks in the country that go to the Duel,” Swafford said of NFA’s showcase event. “To go up there and win it, that really satisfies you as a competitor and it really helps you think that you can hang with the best.” Not only is Swafford starting at QB for Meigs County, which is located in Decatur, Tenn., he is thriving. “Winning the job the the week of our first game, it felt really good and it boosted my confidence a lot,” Swafford said. “I was playing middle school football at this time last year, so it’s much better competition at this level. You’ve just got to prepare for it a lot more.” With Swafford under center, the Tigers are off to a 3-1 start. Their lone loss was against Marion County High School, which was ranked No. 2 in Tennessee last year. “I didn’t play too well in that game,” Swafford said.
No apologies necessary. Swafford is playing a challenging position at an advanced level, and he’ll only get better. That was quite evident after the loss to Marion County. Facing unbeaten Silverdale, Swafford threw touchdown passes on each of Meigs County’s first three possessions of the game. He ran for two more scores in the third quarter to spark a 32-19 win. Needless to say, Swafford has been accepted very well by his older varsity teammates. “At first, I think they were kind of sketchy,” Swafford said. “But as soon as we got on the field I’m sure they just wanted what was best for the team, and they saw we were playing good with me playing quarterback. I think they’ve been fine with it.”
Standing almost 6 feet tall and weighing 170 pounds, Swafford has been playing QB since he was 8 years old. “I like quarterback because you’re in control of the game and you’re a leader at that position,” he said. “Everyone looks up to you and you’re the one everybody needs to make plays.” If he keeps making plays at quarterback, Swafford is likely to achieve his primary goal as the Tigers’ varsity starter. “I want to make it pretty far into the playoffs,” he said. “Last year, this team didn’t make the playoffs. I’m looking to turn that around and go deep.” Training with NFA the past three years can only help Swafford reach that goal. “They’ve helped me a lot with my mechanics and a lot with becoming a leader on the field and how my personal standpoint is on and off the field,” he said. In addition to playing QB as a freshman, Swafford also starts at safety for Meigs County. He was one of the top tacklers while tying for the team lead in interceptions through the first four games. “Playing quarterback definitely helps me play safety,” Swafford said. “I can get in the other quarterback’s heads and read their eyes a lot of times. That helps me know what they’re going to do.”