It’s a new year, and another season of big expectations for Ken Seals.
As the eighth grader from Azle, Texas, is already showing, he’s up for the challenge.
To prepare for his final season of football before moving to the high school level, Seals won the Duel for the second straight year.
“It was a great feeling to win again,” said Seals, who placed third in NFA’s showcase event in Massillon, Ohio, the summer before sixth grade. “It came down so close at the end. It was great and hopefully I can make it three in a row next year.”
Given his already obvious skill and work ethic, don’t be surprised if Seals delivers Duel win No. 3 next year.
For now, he is focused on leading the Azle Junior High Hornets to a successful season. “Our big goal this year is to go undefeated,” Seals said. “We tried to do that last year but we didn’t really stay together as a team. This season we really do have a shot at it.”
Last year, Seals guided the Azle seventh grade team to a 7-2 record. He completed 60 percent of his passes while piling up 1,108 yards in the air with 24 touchdowns and only 3 interceptions. Seals also rushed for 406 yards and averaged 11 yards per carry.
In addition to playing for an undefeated team this season, Seals has some lofty personal goals. “A big one is being a good leader for the team,” he said. “And I want to try to get 1,000 yards passing and 1,000 yards rushing with 30 overall touchdowns.”
Those are some big numbers, but the 6-foot, 150-pounder is confident in his ability to pass and run the football. “In our offense, we have read option plays,” Seals said. “It’s an offense where the quarterback can run, so I’m looking forward to that. I definitely consider myself a Pro Style quarterback, but I do love to run.”
In addition to his Duel success, Seals was having a banner off-season on other fronts:
-He was selected to the Team USA National squad and was the starting QB in the game held at Hall of Fame Stadium.
-He was a 2015 Brett Cooper Academic All-American Bowl selection. Only 60 athletes were selected out of 30,000 applicants and Seals has carried a 4.0 GPA every year in school.
-He was the eighth grade champ in the 2015 Advocare Texas State QB competition.
-Seals made the 2015 Nike/Dallas Cowboy High School Elite 11 competition and was the only non-High School QB at the showcase event.
-He was the 2015 Regional Punt Pass and Kick champion but was not able to compete further due to scheduling conflicts.
-Seals’ 7-on-7 team went 48-1 while winning five tournament championships.
Add it all up and it is easy to see why Seals has established himself as one of the top eighth grade quarterbacks in the country.
“I wanted to play quarterback ever since I started to play football,” he said. “It really took me a while to where I was actually trying to become an elite quarterback, I think it was three or four years ago.”
Training with NFA and former Baylor quarterback Ryan Roberts has helped Seals take his game to the highest level possible, but the pressure is already building on the 14-year-old standout.
“Sometimes it will get to me,” Seals admitted. “But I really don’t think about having to perform for people; I don’t really think about people coming to games to watch me or they expect me to play a certain way. It really doesn’t bother me that much. I think I’ve been able to handle the pressure pretty well considering what the standards are for me.”