JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — There definitely have been quite a lot of issues for NFL groups to like about Trevor Lawrence, however there’s one factor that arguably stands above the remainder: The man hardly loses.
Lawrence enters his first NFL preseason sport on Saturday 86-4 as a starter — 52-2 at Cartersville (Georgia) Excessive Faculty and 34-2 at Clemson — and was good within the common season (68-0). He misplaced 4 occasions in 22 playoff video games, which implies there is a fairly brief listing of quarterbacks who’ve crushed him head-to-head.
Two are fairly straightforward to call: Joe Burrow, who led LSU to a 42-25 victory over Clemson within the nationwide title sport after the 2019 season and was the No. 1 decide in 2020 NFL draft, and Justin Fields, who led Ohio State to a 49-28 victory over the Tigers in a semifinal sport this previous season and was taken eleventh in the newest draft.
However the different two?
Not precisely family names, though one did go on to play faculty soccer. Chances are high, except you are from the Atlanta suburbs of Buford and Roswell, you have most likely by no means heard of both one, however Luke Humphrey and Jake Smith are the 2 highschool quarterbacks who beat Lawrence.
How Luke Humphrey and Buford HS dealt Trevor Lawrence his first loss
In contrast to Lawrence, Humphrey wasn’t a big-time recruit. He needed to beat out a sophomore throughout camp to be the Buford Wolves’ starter, however he did have one factor in frequent with Lawrence in 2014: He additionally hadn’t misplaced a sport.
Buford was 14-0 heading into the 2014 Class AAAA semifinal at Cartersville Excessive Faculty, and Humphrey had performed nicely: He had thrown for 1,116 yards and 16 touchdowns with 5 interceptions. The week earlier than, in a quarterfinal victory over Marist, Humphrey had thrown for a season-high 177 yards. Protection was Buford’s actual energy, nonetheless. The Wolves posted seven shutouts and had given up greater than 12 factors in a sport simply twice.
For Humphrey and his teammates, the truth that Lawrence was a freshman and hadn’t seen a protection near what he was going to see that evening was the important thing. Though Lawrence had been fairly good and ultimately would change into the nation’s No. 1 recruit, he was a ninth-grader.
Buford believed they may reap the benefits of that — till the sport began.
“Everyone was speaking Trevor up,” Humphrey stated. “He was a real freshman. He is thrown this quantity of TDs, this quantity of yards. He had some fairly superb stats for a real freshman already. Our protection was fairly assured as nicely, like, ‘Oh, it is a true freshman,’ [and] wasn’t too frightened about it.
“Effectively, we present up, and the child’s 6-foot-5 and might actually sling it in warm-ups. That first drive he threw a pair passes incomplete, however they have been on the cash. He had some receivers drop some balls, and we have been like, ‘All proper, this child’s the actual deal, although he’s a real freshman.'”
Even so, Buford constructed a 14-3 third-quarter lead by pressuring Lawrence, forcing turnovers and enjoying ball management. It may have been a fair larger lead had the Wolves not made so many errors on offense — together with a 57-yard landing move by Humphrey to tight finish Isaac Nauta (who performed at Georgia and is on the Green Bay Packers‘ coaching camp roster) that was worn out by an unlawful movement penalty.
“We did a play-action move,” stated Humphrey, who threw for 126 yards. “I used to be rolling out, I had a pair guys open, and really Isaac Nauta had two folks on his again, 40 yards down the sector, and I threw one to him, and he made a play, scored the landing.”
Buford sealed the sport late within the third quarter when security Steven Reese intercepted Lawrence and returned the ball to the 3-yard line and operating again Joshua Thomas scored his third 1-yard TD of the sport three performs later to place the Wolves up 17 (they received 27-3).
It is what Buford linebacker Konnor Houston did on that interception Humphrey remembers much more, although.
“Trevor Lawrence is about to make the deal with and Konnor Houston peeled again on him and had a reasonably large hit on him,” Humphrey stated. “He [Lawrence] truly jumped proper up from that, and we’re like, ‘That child is hard.’
“It will have most likely been a penalty in in the present day’s world.”
Lawrence hasn’t forgotten it.
“It is one of many hardest hits I’ve had,” he stated.
Take a look at video of the play under on the 3:51 mark, with Lawrence in purple and the hit at 3:56.
Though Buford would go on to beat St. Pius X Catholic 55-10 to win the state title, Humphrey stated the victory over Cartersville is the sport he remembers probably the most from that season.
“Beating Cartersville within the remaining 4 with Trevor Lawrence at quarterback, that was most likely the No. 1, probably the most tough sport to verify we win this factor,” Humphrey stated. “It was extra of a big-time sport than the championship sport.”
What has Humphrey been as much as since then?
Humphrey graduated the following spring and enrolled on the College of West Georgia. He ultimately transferred to the College of North Georgia and now works in logistics. And sure, every time he and his highschool buddies get collectively, they do reminisce about that sport.
“Cartersville most likely will get introduced up greater than some other sport, enjoying Trevor Lawrence,” Humphrey stated. “Konnor Houston, he likes to sort of brag somewhat bit. Placing Trevor Lawrence on his again is sort of a memorable factor for him.
“It wasn’t a deal with he made or an interception, it was, ‘Oh, I hit Trevor Lawrence.'”
Humphrey, by the best way, has intently adopted Lawrence’s profession since that evening.
“It was actually cool to beat somebody of that caliber,” stated Humphrey, who’s a Georgia Bulldogs and Atlanta Falcons fan. “It was clearly a workforce effort. I pull for him now. I’ve the honour of claiming I beat him head-to-head, however I’ve pulled for him ever since. Even after highschool, he was at Cartersville and I used to be graduated, I wished him to do nicely, wished him to win. I am not a Clemson fan. When he performed, I pulled for Clemson. Now I am not a Jacksonville fan, however I pull for Jacksonville.
“It will be one thing I look again on without end. And brag about most likely somewhat bit to folks.”
How Jake Smith and Blessed Trinity Catholic handed Lawrence his second loss
Smith has a fair higher story: He threw a game-winning landing move with 12 seconds to play to beat Lawrence and Cartersville in a Class AAAA second-round playoff sport in 2017.
Blessed Trinity’s 21-17 victory stopped the Hurricanes’ 41-game successful streak and quest to win three consecutive state titles — and it was the final sport of Lawrence’s highschool profession.
Smith was a junior who had compiled some fairly strong stats for the Blessed Trinity Titans: 70% completion charge, 27 touchdowns and one interception, which, former Blessed Trinity coach Tim McFarlin stated, got here on a deflection.
In contrast to Lawrence, who was the nation’s No. 1 recruit and was getting ready to enroll at Clemson early the following January, Smith wasn’t a extremely sought-after faculty recruit. Not as a quarterback, anyway. Some faculties wished him as a security, however he ultimately bought a suggestion to play quarterback at Air Drive, and he enrolled there in 2020.
Smith, who declined an interview request by way of Air Drive’s sports activities data division, began at each spots for Blessed Trinity and made an affect in opposition to Cartersville as a security that evening, too, together with blowing up a large receiver display screen with an enormous hit.
“Jake got here from the center of the sector, full tilt, and he bought up underneath the display screen and the [receiver] turned proper into him,” McFarlin stated. “And when Jake hit him, it was an explosion. Boy, that was an enormous pickup for our sideline. I am glad the child wasn’t damage, but it surely took him a short while to stand up from that. Jake made a number of massive performs like that.”
None larger than the landing move.
Lawrence had rallied Cartersville from a 14-3 deficit, and his Hurricanes led 17-14 with lower than a minute to play. Smith had pushed the Titans to the Cartersville 26-yard line with about 20 seconds remaining, and McFarlin determined to name up a shot at a landing on third down. If it did not work, he’d kick the sector objective on fourth and take his probabilities in additional time.
However he actually did not need to go to additional time in Cartersville. In a sport they weren’t imagined to have an opportunity to win — they have been, McFarlin stated, 31-point underdogs.
The Titans had run the ball nicely all evening and stayed in a run-heavy formation: two tight ends, two operating backs and one receiver. Smith play-faked to operating again Steele Chambers (now a operating again and linebacker at Ohio State) whereas receiver Ryan Davis (a 5-10 junior who would go on to play at UAB) used a double transfer to get open.
Smith hit Davis at the back of the tip zone to take the lead with 12 seconds to play.
“It was simply a type of moments the place we felt like we wanted to take the shot so as to have the ability to get the win, and we have been lucky that we bought behind him and scored the landing,” McFarlin stated.
Blessed Trinity’s protection disrupted Lawrence all evening, holding him to 142 yards and one landing passing. The 17 factors have been a season low — Cartersville had scored a minimum of 35 factors in its earlier 11 video games and surpassed 50 factors seven occasions.
“As the sport bought tight, the longer the sport went, I felt just like the benefit sort of moved to our sideline,” McFarlin stated. “They weren’t used to enjoying deep into the sport. Most of their video games have been over by early-to-mid third quarter. They have been averaging nicely over 40 factors a sport, and we had held them to at least one offensive landing.
“Late within the sport I feel the strain of that confirmed up somewhat bit. That they had a few drops. … It is simply a type of issues the place coaches say you play them 10 occasions [and you’d lose nine], and that was the one sport [we won].”
Lawrence on the 2 highschool losses
Contemplating all of the video games and championships Lawrence has received in his profession, it is somewhat unfair to single out two losses and ask whether or not these video games stick to him, however he was well mannered and agreed, and really did bear in mind some particulars and names.
And, sure, they do nonetheless sting.
“They all the time stick to you,” Lawrence stated. “While you’re a competitor and a winner, that is stuff you all the time bear in mind. I largely simply take into consideration we received two state championships and had an amazing 4 years, however I simply take into consideration what we may have executed.
“First one was within the semifinals, may have had an opportunity to win there. However [Buford] was positively a greater workforce than us. However my senior 12 months, figuring out that we have been the higher workforce and simply did not play nicely, that sucks. Like, my final 12 months, it felt like we had the most effective workforce and did not find yourself ending.
“You positively bear in mind them.”
Perhaps now extra folks will bear in mind Humphrey and Smith, too.