Faisal Ahmadii Settling In At QB
It was a small step, but a step forward none the less for sophomore Faisal Ahmadii as he tries to cement his place in the Blue Devils starting lineup.
Last Saturday, Ahmadii was the Blue Devils starting quarterback when Kenmore West gutted out a 27-21 win over Niagara-Wheatfield.
A huge day for the Blue Devils as it was their first win in Section VI Class AA North, it was also a watershed moment for Ahmadii a varsity rookie who picked up the first win of his varsity quarterback career as he connected on five of 15 pass attempts for 100 yards and a TD.
“It feels great; me doing my part,” Ahmadii said. “Just knowing that I helped the team out in any way shape, or form. Even if I didn’t have a big role in it, it feels good. Now we have momentum going in against Lockport and hopefully we’ll come out with the ‘W.'”
It looks as though Ahmadii will get the chance to extend that winning streak on Saturday when the Blue Devils host Lockport in another Class AA North match up at Crosby Field at 2pm.
While there is always a learning curve associated with any varsity newcomer as they navigate the ups and downs of facing bigger, stronger players in a much faster game setting than they are used to on JV, it has been even more challenging for Ahmadii because he has not had the benefit of consistent reps and playing time at QB to learn the position and work the kinks out.
Coming into camp, it appeared that returning senior Jamir Lynch would be the clear-cut No.1 QB, but as training camp continued Ahmadii and Andrew Fron both made solid progress. Enough to where it got head coach John Haynes thinking if Fron or Ahmadii could step up and fill the QB role, leaving Lynch open to be a multiple position threat on offense.
Fron won the job and led the Blue Devils to an opening night win over Riverside. But in the final practice before their Week Two matchup against Williamsville North, Fron sustained a season-ending injury. Ahmadii had to step in as QB the next day without the benefit of a week of practice or even a walk through.
Ahmadii tossed three interceptions in the first half and was replaced by Lynch in the second half.
“It’s definitely been up and down,” he said. “It wasn’t expected, but you’ve got to keep working hard… You can’t just say ‘oh I’m varsity, I can stop working.’ You’ve got to keep pushing on. Getting as many reps as you can and keep learning. It’s a lot faster and different than JV.”
Though it’s been a tough road in these first few weeks of the season, Ahmadii believes the struggles he has faced will only make him better.
“Coach always says adversity is good and he’s not lying,” Ahmadii said. “It’s only made me step my game up and work even harder.”
“He’s got a good head on his shoulders,” said Haynes. “He’s done a good job. He’s always willing to learn. He’s in the film room, he’s working on film. He just wants to get better all the time.”
Now standing at 2-2 overall, 1-2 in league play, the Blue Devils know that a win over the winless Lions will secure a playoff spot. But they also know they can’t take Lockport lightly.
“We’re not perfect so every week we’ve got to come back and we’ve got to make improvements,” senior Jahlel St. John said. “We’re gonna come back stronger and we’re gonna do what we’ve got to do to get this win.”