Jonathan Howard is definitely considered a big man on campus. And it's not just because he is 6'5".
His head coach Mark Ledford agrees, "Bug Howard has been one of the most pleasurable kids that I've coached. We've had Bug in our program since he was a sixth grader in middle school. He was our ball boy. So he's been in our program for the past 6 years, and all the while he has been watching, listening and learning."
Howard affectionately known as Bug has also been buzzing in the classroom, making honor roll this semester. On the field, he has pestered defenses the same way, catching for more than 600 yards and 4 touchdowns this season.
"I started playing varsity football in the 9th grade, and I got put in the heat. And I did pretty well," says Howard, "So now it's just go out and play football."
Ledford adds, "One of the biggest headaches is checking on a kid's grades, making sure your star players are doing what they need to do in the classroom. But Bug is not one of those kids you have to check on academically. He's right now an A-B student and seems to keep getting better and better. He is very conscientious about his studies and is a joy to teach from all his teachers."
As the Patriots enter into familiar territory with the state playoffs this coming Friday night, Bug plans to help lead any way he can.
"We got to come out here and work hard every day and hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard", says the junior. "So if we put our talent together and work hard we'll come out like we did in 2009, state champs."
Howard and the Patriots defend their 34 game home winning streak against Calhoun in the first round of the state playoffs.