The Duel is back on.
A highlight event for National Football Academies, the third-annual Duel of the Dozens quarterback competition kicked off on June 13 in Massillon, Ohio.
Located just a fly pattern away from the NFL Hall of Fame, the invitation-only Duel of the Dozens features nearly 175 rising QBs from the United States and Canada.
Even better, the event is being held at venerable Paul Brown Tiger Stadium, home of the Massillon High School Tigers.
Massillon has won 22 Ohio state football championships, and Brown won six titles while coaching the Tigers from 1932-40.
Holding the showcase event on such hallowed football ground was duly noted by Darrin Slack, the founder and president of NFA/QBA.
“Paul Brown is one of the most noted names in football history,” Coach Slack told the Duel of the Dozens participants and their families before the competition began. “This is the birthplace of high school football. This is truly where a legacy was born. You’re in a very, very special place.”
Under ideal weather conditions, Duel of the Dozens started Friday afternoon.
The competition is divided into age groups, with 60 points available each day.
Quarterbacks from Grades 5-12 qualified for the two-day test of skills by earning an NFA Skill Score or getting an NFA Coach nomination.
Scoring for the Duel of the Dozens is based on a comprehensive battery of assessments that measures all aspects of an athlete’s ability, including rapid cognition, decision-making, speed, strength, stamina and position specific performance.
Scoring is kept for all age groups and after the competition is pared down to a Final Four in each division, National Champions will be crowned on Saturday.
With so many quality quarterbacks packed into Paul Brown Tiger Stadium, winning the Duel of the Dozens is going to be a major accomplishment at any grade level.
But as Coach Slack stressed to the athletes and their families before the first day of competition, there is much more to the event than winning an individual honor.
“It’s a competition to determine champion but in my mind, you all have the ability to be a better champion,” said Coach Slack, a record-setting collegiate quarterback at the University of Central Florida. “It’s a competition, but it’s also about understanding what it means when you leave here. It’s not just about football, because football is going to end.”
Coach Slack said three factors define a champion:
1. Love, not for what you do on the football field, but love for who you do it for, family, teammates and friends.
2. Character. It’s what you do when know one is watching, Coach Slack said.
3. Legacy. It is your body of work, on and off the football field. Make it count.
The Duel is back on.