Duel an ‘Amazing Experience’


The NFA’s fourth annual Duel of the Dozens quarterback competition was held at the historic Paul Brown Tiger Stadium on July 12-13 in Massillon, Ohio.

As always, the invitation-only showcase attracted top young QBs from around the country and provided intense competition.

“The Duel was an incredible experience for me,” said Luke Poorman, who will be a sophomore at University High School in Orlando, Fla. this season. “I feel like it was a turning point for me in my development and confidence. Paul Brown Stadium was HUGE and the indoor facility was nicer than most D-1 colleges, to be honest. For a high school, it was ridiculous cool. We did the preliminary gauntlet in the field house, which was awesome. I would love to have a stadium like that at my high school!”

Kiernen Hamilton, a New Yorker heading into his freshman season, enjoyed the two-day Duel as much as Poorman.
“I think the Duel was an amazing experience,” Hamilton said. “I enjoyed meeting people from all over the country and seeing some of my old friends that all share the same passion that I do. Paul Brown Stadium was an awesome facility. The stadium and in-door field were jaw dropping.”

And so was the competition for quarterbacks that will be in Grades 5-12 this upcoming football season.

“The competition was exciting and nerve-racking at some points,” Hamilton said. “I enjoyed the competitive atmosphere and hope to be there next year. At the Duel, I received some of the best coaching in the country. I got my mechanics tuned up and my footwork quicker. My ability to perform under pressure and read coverages is improving rapidly.”

NFA coaches from across the country, including founder/president Darin Slack, Will Hewlett, Dub Maddox and JC Boice, ran all of the rising quarterback prospects through teaching drills during the opening day of the Duel, and scoring was based on a comprehensive battery of assessments that measured all aspects of a QB’s ability, including rapid cognition decision making, speed, strength, stamina and position specific performance.

“I had a great experience at the Duel, it was a blast,” said Jackson Erdmann, who will be a junior this season at Rosemount High School in Minnesota. “It was great to compete in such an amazing stadium. I had a hard time believing it was a high school stadium at first. The Duel helped me by pointing out little things that I have to work on with my throwing technique, and it also showed me some new drills I can do to prepare for the fall.”

Here are this year’s NFA Duel National Champions for each age group:

  • Grade 5: Cody (CJ) Rogers
  • Grade 6: Shaun Wimberly Jr.
  • Grade 7: Gino English
  • Grade 8: John Michael Estes
  • Grade 9: Kiernen Hamilton
  • Grade 10: Colt Roe
  • Grade 11: Bryce Stancombe
  • Grade 12: Matthew McCutcheon

Grading out with the highest score under such fierce competition is something to be proud of, but the Duel also reinforced the importance of being a leader on and off the field and doing everything possible to make your team better.

“Thanks to the NFA coaches, I will be able to serve my teammates and coaches better this season,” Hamilton said.

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Scot Gregor is an award-winning sportswriter for the Chicago Daily Herald. In addition to writing about Big 10 and Notre Dame football, Gregor has also covered the White Sox, Bears, Blackhawks, Bulls and college basketball. He grew up in Pittsburgh and watched the Steelers rise to prominence in the 1970s. Gregor has a B.S. degree in Journalism from Ohio University