Michael Kern succeeds on, off field


There is much more to playing quarterback than squatting under center or standing back in the shotgun and leading the offense to the end zone.

Michael Kern succeeds on, off field

The best quarterbacks are leaders on and off the field, and they are adept at handling success and adversity in similar positive fashion. Michael Kern has all of those qualities, and they were prominently displayed this season.

Playing for the Avalon Wolves in the Orlando, Fla., Pop Warner League, Kern had another stellar campaign, connecting on 38 passes in 56 attempts for 525 yards and 10 touchdowns. While compiling a 115.0 QB Rating, he also used his speed and quickness to average 7.4 yards per rush.

Kern led the Wolves to a 9-3 record. “There were really a lot of good things that happened this season,” he said. “Every game, I try to do as well as possible and help us win. If I have a game that’s not so great, I try to set my goals higher for the next one.”

In the playoffs, Kern suffered a broken collarbone during a Wednesday game and was experiencing obvious pain. But with Avalon’s final playoff game scheduled for Saturday, he returned to practice the next day.

Encouraging words

“I was just going to go to practice and encourage them and let them know I was all right,” Kern said. “It was our last practice before what most people say was the biggest game of the year. I was planning on just talking to the team, talking to my backup and saying, ‘Everything’s going to be just fine,’ and then I was going to go. But after watching practice I stayed and I tried to give our other quarterback some pointers and encouragement. I tried to get him ready for the next game.”

The Wolves rallied around Kern’s courage and dedicated the final playoff game to their injured quarterback. “It’s something I’ll never forget,” Kern said. “I wasn’t going to stay long, but I felt it was important to be there and I’m glad I did.”

Kern is also glad he’s been attending NFA camps the past four years. In addition to helping Avalon to a big season, Kern was the starting quarterback for Team Florida in the Future Stars Game, the starting QB for Team South in the NPFA Top 100 Game, the starter for Sixth Grade Central Florida FBU Competition team, and he also played for the seventh grade FBU Competition Team this year despite being less than 100 percent with the collarbone injury.

An NFA Passio Award Winner in the Orlando camp, Kern also finished second in the Duel of the Dozens this past summer in Ohio. “To do that well at the Duel, it really boosted my confidence high,” Kern said. “Going into the season, I just felt like I could go on the field and there was nothing I couldn’t accomplish. The Duel was a lot of fun, and doing so well really helped me improve as a quarterback.”

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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