Panther QB eyeing return to the top

Published 3:58 pm Friday, August 17, 2012

When Georgiana School’s graduating class of 2013 walks across Harmon Field in May, Devin Bonner will very likely be leading the procession.

The straight-A student is expected to graduate at the head of his class.

But first Bonner has some unfinished work to take care of on Harmon Field beginning Aug. 31 when the Panthers open their 2012 season against Ariton High School.

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“I want to be a part of building our program back up,” Bonner said. “We’ve had a couple of bad seasons the last two years, and I want to help us get better and build for the future.”

Georgiana, which has won nine region championships in school history, hasn’t had a winning season since 2003 when the Panthers finished 6-5. In the last two seasons, the Panthers have won just three games.

Second-year head coach David Watts believes Bonner, who is transitioning from fullback to quarterback, is a player that could help Georgiana return to the head of the class in its region.

“He’s a true double threat at quarterback,” Watts said. “We run a lot of option, and he’s a very strong runner. He runs north and south and we do a lot with our quarterback running between the tackles. He also has a strong arm. He can make plays running the ball or throwing it.”

But Watts said what really sets Bonner apart is the trait that has landed him at the head of his class.

“He’s a very cerebral kid,” Watts said. “… I’ve had Devin in my classroom and he not only made straight A’s, he almost always made a 100.”

Watts believes Bonner’s ability to learn and process information quickly made him the perfect fit to take over the Panther’s signal calling duties.

“He knows the offense inside and out,” he said. “It’s like having another coach on the field.”

For his part, Bonner said the transition from fullback to quarterback has gone smoothly, especially since Bonner saw action at quarterback as a sophomore.

“It hasn’t been too tough to get (the offense) down,” the senior said. “I know what everyone is supposed to do, and what I’m looking for.”

The 5-foot-11, 160-pounder said his job is simply to put his teammates in a position to make plays.

“Devin is the kind of player that sees the big picture,” Watts said. “He isn’t concerned with who gets the credit. If we’re running the option and his read says to give the ball up, he does. He doesn’t care who scores the touchdown. He does what’s best for the team. He’s a team first guy, and that’s one of the most important traits a quarterback can have.”