Beecher, Spiders look forward to football season
CONCORD, Jul 30, 2012 (Independent Tribune - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Official football practice for the Concord High begins at 5:30 p.m. Monday with high expectations, especially of its 6-foot-7 200-pound quarterback B.J. Beecher.
"B.J. is a special talent," Coach Glen Padgett said. "He's a special young man. He's a team above self guy. You talk to his teammates they will tell you that. He believes his job is to make us better and to get the receivers the ball."
Beecher is Padgett's first ever four-year starter among a group of outstanding quarterbacks that he has coached through the years.
In the past two seasons, Beecher has thrown for almost 6000 yards and 69 touchdowns. For his career, he has passed for nearly 7,000 yards and 84 touchdowns.
"You would be hard pressed to find a high school quarterback who would do that in two years -- those two years being their sophomore and junior years. He brings a lot to the table for us. He knows what the offensive staff and he knows what I want," Padgett said.
Beecher and Padgett both emphasize that football is a team sport and success depends on many people working together.
Beecher is getting a lot of attention from the media to go along with fans' expectations. He plays it off with a smile.
"It's nice but I try not to focus on it. It's high school football. I really need to focus on being a better football player," Beecher said.
Beecher won the Big 22 Player of the Year in 2011 from WSOC-TV, which is chosen by fan balloting. He is nominated again this year. For the win, Concord High got $5000.
"It's great for the school. We need that money. We need all the money we can get. It's great. It's $10,000 this year so it's even better," Beecher said. The wry comment drew laughs from his coach.
Kalif Phillips, the outstanding running back for Kannapolis, is also in the Big 22 competition.
"He's a good player. I always look forward to playing against him. Hopefully we will beat them this year," Beecher said of Phillips.
While the future is bright for Beecher, he's focusing on his senior season. He said he is pushing the recruiting process to the back burner until after the season.
ESPN, which invited him to the Atlanta Elite 11 Camp earlier this year, reports his top schools are Duke and N.C. State. He is rated as the number 23 pocket passer in the country.
Beecher comes from an athletic family. His sister, Katie, was an outstanding athlete at Concord. His brother, Tommy, led the Spiders to the 2004 state title with a 15-1 record. B.J. with a good season this year could break some of Tommy's career passing records.
"(Tommy) tries to help me out," Beecher said. "He will yell at me when I'm doing badly. He will praise me when I am doing well. He just tries to make me a better football player."
Big brother's best advice was that interceptions are going to happen and you have to shake them off, Beecher said.
"My freshman year I couldn't handle interceptions at all and actually my sophomore year too. I would get back from the field crying. Now I look back, 'Man that was stupid.' Now after I throw an interception I try to make up for it," Beecher said.
Beecher became the Spiders' starting quarterback in 2009 as a freshman. The team was 0-6 and playing at Central Cabarrus. Padgett said he called on Beecher, who was a 6-5 145-pound junior varsity quarterback at the time, because of injuries to older players and the team's struggles.
It was a slow start and the Spiders trailed by a couple of touchdowns late in the second quarter before things started to click. The Spiders, led by Beecher, came back to win 47-27 over the Vikings.
"We've won 75 percent of our games since then," Padgett said.
It was the start of a six-game winning streak that included a 13-10 win in Kannapolis against A.L. Brown. The season ended 6-7 with a playoff loss at Hibriten.
The Spiders went 9-5 in 2010 and 10-4 last season.
The past two seasons have ended with losses at West Rowan in the third round of the playoffs, including a heart-breaking 20-14 loss last season.
"We've got to get West Rowan. Hopefully we will see them in the playoffs this year too," Beecher said.
His senior to-do list also includes beating Hunter Huss, which has beaten the Spiders three years in a row, and to beat Kannapolis again.
The 28-26 loss to Hickory Ridge last season was one of his worst memories at Concord. The Spiders had won five games in a row, were unbeaten in the conference and were to play Kannapolis the next Friday for the league title.
"We weren't supposed to lose that game. That's one you're coming in expecting to win and come out with the worst feeling," Beecher said.
Beecher said he and his teammates learned to never underestimate an opponent.
His favorite memory of his high school career came during his freshman season.
"Beating Kannapolis. We need to beat Kannapolis again. It's been fun. There's nothing like playing in Robert C. Bailey Stadium. I wouldn't want to play anywhere else," Beecher said.
While he is an outstanding athlete and student, it's not what he thinks is most important.
"I'm godly person," Beecher said. He said it comes from his parents and other family members who have taught him the importance of caring for other people.
The Beechers and other family members went on a medical mission to Haiti earlier this year. It made a lasting impression on B.J.
"It's fifth world country. People ask me, 'what is a fifth world country ' They totally rely on other countries for help. Third world (countries) can still operate on their own. Haiti is hopeless. They need all the help they can get," Beecher said. He said will likely return for another mission.
Math is his favorite subject at Concord. He then turned to Padgett and said "Besides weight-lifting," again drawing a roar of laughter from his coach.
Beecher said he plans to play basketball again this season for the Spiders. "I love competition. It's fun getting out there. It's a change-up from football and I love competing."
Tennis is his third sport. He was a part of a South Piedmont Conference championship team in the spring that went undefeated through the regular season. His mother, Pam, was the coach.
Both Padgett and mom are tough coaches, who make the players work hard, Beecher said.
So who is the tougher coach
"I can play around a little bit with my mom, but Coach Padgett has something called 'hills'," Beecher said.
Beecher said he gets to run the banks of the stadium about once a year. Padgett said it doesn't happen very often.
Folks around Concord will also notice that the lanky quarterback has a different hair style, a little longer than last season.
"People said I looked too young with the buzz cut," Beecher said.
The Spiders and Beecher kick off the regular season Aug. 17 at West Charlotte. They will host the 2nd Annual Cabarrus-Rowan Border Wars Football Jamboree Aug. 10.
Contact Mark Plemmons at 704-789-9140.
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