Qualls hopeful to get chance at next level

Heritage QB Josh Qualls loves the game of football and wants to play at the collegiate level, no matter what that might take.

SPRINGDALE - Heritage got off to a hot start with Josh Qualls under center in 2011, defeating Dorial Green-Beckham and Hillcrest 37-20, but the War Eagles endured a nine-game losing streak to end the season.

Despite completing 60 percent of his passes and throwing for 2,497 yards and 25 touchdowns in his first season as the varsity starting quarterback, Qualls has received criticism for his size and has yet to receive many offers.

The junior field general said he has been receiving mail from several schools and he is hopeful to play football at the next level - no matter what that takes.

"I haven't been recruited too much, but I went to the Arkansas camp and the Mizzou camp and I've gotten letters from Arkansas, Missouri, Tulsa, Notre Dame, LSU and Mississippi State, but haven't found out anything really big," Qualls said.

"Whoever wants me to play for them, I want to be there. If it's not Division I, if it's Division II or even NAIA, I'll play. I just want to play college football."

For his junior campaign, the 6-foot-1 quarterback said he feels confident the War Eagles will be much improved after a tough season a year ago.

"I feel like we're going to be better than last year," Qualls said. "We're still young, but a more experience youth. We'll still be mostly juniors, but we all played as sophomores last year.

We're hungry and we want to win. Last year we took a beating and we don't want to go through that again."

Qualls was not ready to make any predictions for the season, though. He understands how tough some of the competition in the 7A-West can be and said he knows one competitor that is committed to Arkansas quite well.

"I love playing against Austin Allen," Qualls said. "We were on the same travel baseball game for two years and his dad was my coach and my dad coached him, too. We were always around each other growing up and our families grew close and Austin and I are really close.

"Whenever we play each other, we're really competitive and we want to beat each other, but in the end, we're still best friends and it's a really great experience to play against him."

Allen and the Fayetteville Bulldogs are also competing in the Southwest Elite 7-on-7 Tournament along with Heritage. Qualls said the tournament has helped his team, the Heritage War Eagles, bond and get some experience to the style of play that will be necessary to win games during the season.

"All of us young guys are really stepping up," Qualls said. "I feel like we're making those big plays when we need them, making the catches, making the stops on defense and I'm just happy with the way everyone has played.

"Last year, we were close as a team, but not compared to this. This year, we're all one and we've just become one big family. Especially in 7-on-7 like this. We've all grown really close to each other and it will help us out in the long run."

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