QB Diaries: Long Wins Opener

Week one of A.J. Long's senior season is in the books and the result was as expected. Long breaks down Friendship Christian's 35-6 victory, including an unlikely game changing play, with CuseNation.com inside.

Game one of Syracuse commit A.J. Long's season didn't start as planned. However, Friendship Christian was able to bounce back for a blowout victory of Harding Academy.

"We started out with the ball but went three and out," Long said. "Then we had a bad snap that went over our punter's head. They got the ball on the 12-yard line. It took them all four plays to score. We got the ball back and went three and out again. They got the ball back and had an 80-yard play but we ran them down at about the 10. Two plays later, I had a 92-yard interception return for a touchdown. That put us up 7-6.

"In the second quarter, we started pounding it down their throats. I threw a 21-yard touchdown to our receiver, Michael Hawks. Then I scored a rushing touchdown with about three minutes left in the second quarter. From there, we just kept the ground and pound on them. We ended up winning 35-6."

Long led an offensive attack that featured the power running game. It was an advantage they knew they had going in, and exploited it in order to cruise to victory. Still, despite the lack of big plays from the senior quarterback, Long says his all-around game was one of the best of his high school career.

"I was 6-10 for 61-yards passing," Long said. "I had six rushing attempts for six yards. So offensively, it wasn't a great statistical night. But I'm not worried about it. We won the game and that's what we needed to do. We got the job done in that sense.

"I had a better defensive game than I did offensive. They weren't scoring on us so I was making sure we could get the ball and run down the clock. So I didn't have a great statistical night, but I played the best night of football of my life as far as my all-around game as both a leader and a player."

Coming into the season, one of the big question marks surrounded Long's receiving corps. He had to develop chemistry with some new faces. Even with the minimal reps in the opener, Long says it is so far so good.

"It went great," Long said. "We started out six for six and it would've been seven for seven had there not been a penalty. The receivers are doing well. The four passes that were incomplete were deep balls that could've been caught, but were thrown in a spot where either out guy was going to get it or it would be incomplete.

"We're still developing chemistry and getting down the timing on our routes, but my receiving core is coming along. It was better than I would have anticipated for the first game."

Long and his teammates can now take a small breather with a bye week this week. Next week, Long says their opponent is one they should be able to handle as they look towards the meat of their schedule in the subsequent two weeks.

"We have a bye week and then our next game is against King's Academy," Long said. "They're not a very good team traditionally, so we'll see. We'll focus on them a couple days. Then the rest of the time we'll spend on our next two opponents.

"That's good because they both run the wing-t or triple option. They're our best two games on our schedule. So it's good because it gives us three weeks to prepare. King's Academy is a home game and the other two are on the road."

Stay tuned to CuseNation.com as we follow A.J. throughout his senior season.


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