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Burnett on verge of greatness

By Jeffery Armstrong

For those fans whose high school football team is off next weekend, let me advise you to do something next Friday night if you don't have a movie date: check out the North Clayton Eagles' football game against Forest Park on Sept. 10 at 12 Oaks Stadium in Lovejoy.

In fact, if you do have a date who's also a sports fan, take him or her to that game instead of going to the movies or dinner. You'll both be pleased. Why? Because you'll see arguably the best quarterback in the Southern Crescent, Morgan Burnett.

You can go to dinner or the movies anytime. How often do you get a chance to see greatness in the making? Not very often. Burnett is very good at two positions and as a sophomore, he probably can get even better than he is at this point.

When that kid steps under center, mark him down for two passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns. He's done that in their two games against Lovejoy and Riverdale. Against Lovejoy, an undefeated squad just last year, he rushed for three TDs, including one for 83 yards.

He is truly amazing n dare I say he reminds me of a certain Atlanta Falcons quarterback who can run and throw deep? Yep, I would say he's pretty Vick-ish.

He's got the height, the speed and the strong arm, as teammate Dirk Engram can attest. Engram has been on the receiving end of touchdown passes of 49 and 95 yards.

"I've seen Burnett on film and in person and he's real special," said Lovejoy head coach Al Hughes before last Friday's game.

Imagine how coach Hughes had to feel as he saw Burnett help torch his Lovejoy team for 47 points. He probably envisioned the last two years at his school when he watched a similar player torch other teams n his former quarterback Kisan Flakes. In the three years I've been covering high school football here, Flakes is the top quarterback I've seen. I didn't get to see former North Clayton quarterbacks Mareno Philyaw and D.J. Shockley play football (although I did see D.J. play basketball once), but Flakes proved he was the real deal like I heard those guys were.

There have been other good QBs in this area like Rashad Nettles at Riverdale, Michael Rozier at Henry County and Kenyari Addison at Jonesboro, but Flakes was something else. He was a true "field general" n if there were yards needed for a first down or a back-breaking touchdown that Lovejoy needed in the fourth quarter, Flakes would get them. He didn't make mistakes and he was very smart.

Burnett is on his way to being like Flakes. He's not quite the field general yet, but he's got all the tools to be one. And what I truly like about him is his toughness. During his fumble recovery and touchdown as a safety against Riverdale, he was sandwiched between three defenders and still managed to escape. Last week, Burnett took a big hit from Lovejoy defensive back Keith Fitzhugh, left the game for that series and came back on the next series to run for the 83-yard touchdown.

If Burnett keeps this up, he will need a nickname. In the history of standout athletes, it has been the sports writer who's come up with their nicknames. A sports writer came up with "The Mailman" for Karl Malone and "Magic" for Earvin Johnson. I would say Morgan "The Jet" Burnett, but the Jet is reserved for Kenny Smith. Hopefully, I can think of something before somebody beats me to it.

Jeffery Armstrong is a sports writer for the Daily and his column appears on Thursdays. He can be reached at jarmstrong@news-daily.com .