Travis McGee growing at QB


Travis McGee growing at QB

Sometimes, records can be deceiving.


At first glance, the Lecanto (Fla.) High School Panthers have seemingly had a miserable season with a 2-7 record. Sophomore quarterback Travis McGee knows better.


“We’ve lost a lot of heartbreakers this season, four games by a touchdown or less,” McGee said. “I’m really happy that our guys haven’t quit. We have a young group, a lot of sophomores and a lot of juniors. We’ve had a lot of guys get hurt; I think we only dressed 21 players for one game. So we’re down to the bare minimum. But we have a lot of guys fighting and I try to lead our guys, be a leader on our team. Just kind of keep pushing hard work and pushing effort and motivation and things like that. I’m proud of the way we haven’t backed down. We’ve been in a lot of close games. We’ve had a lot of heartbreakers, but every week we show back up ready to work.”

Record setter


Thanks to McGee’s exploits at quarterback, Lecanto has been competitive throughout the challenging season, and the future looks even brighter. The highlight of the season came on Oct. 25, even if the Panthers did lose to Williston 62-52. During the game, McGee set a school record by throwing for 416 yards while completing 15 of 36 passes. The 6-foot-0, 170-pounder also had 4 touchdown passes and McGee ran for 2 more scores.


“It’s always nice to get a team victory, but it was definitely a shootout both ways,” McGee said of the high-scoring game. “Their offense was scoring a lot and our offense was scoring a lot. I felt like I was doing what my coaches asked me to do. I kept trying to move the ball down the field, trying to keep scoring because I knew (Williston) was putting up points. I knew I was going to throw the ball a lot because we had some offensive linemen hurt and some running backs out. I knew I was going to have some pressure on me to complete some passes and score some points and that’s what I tried to do.”


After taking over as Lecanto’s starting quarterback midway through his freshman season, McGee has rapidly developed under center and he’s having a standout sophomore season with 1,108 passing yards and 8 touchdowns. He’s also rushed for 71 yards on 16 carries.


“It’s big a big opportunity, going into the season knowing I was going to be the starter,” McGee said. “I’ve been working really hard and trying to improve game by game and I feel like I have. Each week’s been getting better and better with more reps and more experience under my belt.”


Attending NFA camps the past three years and working with experienced coaches like Darin Slack and Dub Maddox has been a big help in McGee’s rapid rise to varsity quarterback.


“With NFA, they were the ones who really first taught me how to become a better quarterback just overall,” McGee said. “As far as the level they break things down to, the throwing mechanics, the footwork, all that stuff, it’s been invaluable. It’s really paid off in the games. Even some of the little stuff, elbow positioning, getting to zero, all that stuff, it helps a lot.”


When the current season ends, McGee said he’ll play basketball for Lecanto while preparing for his junior football season.


“I’ll continue to lift weights, get bigger, stronger, faster and then I’ll really hit off-season training hard around January or February all the way up through spring football,” McGee said. “During the summer, I’ll go to more camps and keep working to get better. I think it’s just continuing to work hard every chance I get, never taking an opportunity for granted. Hopefully I can get bigger and taller, and if that happens, stronger and faster. Keep throwing the ball a lot, keep going to camps. I’m going to try to absorb all the information I can and hope it pays off on the field.”

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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