STRAWBERRY PLAINS, Tenn. (WATE) — Carter High School quarterback Chandler Wilson picked up the pigskin at the age of 5 and has not put it down since.
CHS running backs coach Davonte Moore saw Wilson’s playmaking abilities at a young age.
“Since he was a little kid playing quarterback over at the ‘inner-rec’ league we knew he would be special,” Moore said. “Coming in last year as a freshman and started and taking over, just being calm and collected. We had no worries he would handle it well.”
In his second year starting at the helm on offense for the Hornets, the sophomore continues to show growth in his game.
Aside from the challenges COVID-19 concerns brought this season, Wilson was tasked with learning a new offense under first-year head coach Justin Pressley, who also coaches quarterbacks.
Pressley says he’s excited for the quick progress Wilson has made over the past three games quarterbacking a whole new offense.
“He does a great job with the football and running the offense, and I know I can rely on him to get us in the right play if we need him to change the play,” Pressley said. “He never panics. He’s collected and does a great job under center so I’m really proud of him.”
One of his targets, Samuel Watson, notices the difference one year under Friday night lights can make and gives Wilson credit for the good job he does handling pressure.
“He came in and started as a freshman. He’s handled it pretty well and gone through the whole adversity of having a new coach and he’s been a constant through it,” Watson said.
Wilson is a leader on and off of the gridiron. Aside from calling plays, he shows initiative by cleaning up water bottles after practice and wiping down tables in the cafeteria at school.
“He leads on and off the field,” coach Moore said. “Last year he was a little shy about that but this year that’s one thing that’s very impressive seeing his leadership.”
Wilson put in work in the offseason finding different ways to train and build muscle — coming into this season stronger physically and mentally.
“I feel like I’ve gotten a lot stronger mentally and being able to read the field and things, and also physically. I feel more comfortable out there and being able to lead the guys and be productive on offense,” said Wilson.
While the dual-threat quarterback does not feel the game against Seymour was his best, following a sloppy first half, his ability to rally and overcome adversity when the team was down and make big plays was what impressed the most.
Wilson threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to set the Hornets up for a successful two-point conversion and sending the game into overtime.
“We struggled a lot in the first half and Chandler does everything I ask of him, but he was missing some throws early on that we really needed. But he kept hanging in there and coming back and making good throws,” recalled coach Pressley. “Then it comes down to two minutes left in the fourth quarter, and he makes probably one of the better throws I’ve seen a kid make.”
Wilson ended the game completing 20 of 29 passes for 190 yards and three touchdowns to help the Hornets beat Seymour in exciting fashion 22-15 in overtime.
“Seeing him come out game three and doing what he did … there’s not many words for it seeing a sophomore do it. He’s a very talented player,” Moore said.
Wilson says he is inspired by his uncles who both played at Carter and help motivate him to be the best football player he can be.
As a team, Wilson says the team’s goal is to make the playoffs and for him, it’s to continue to improve and perform at “a different level.”
Carter (2-1) hits the road Sept. 11, to take on Lenoir City (0-3) in week four.