On the drive to an appearance for NBC 5’s Inside High School Sports, Kennedale running back Quardraiz Wadley told coach Richard Barrett that there was one reason he was so effective this season.
“He told me it was because I made him play junior varsity to start his junior year,” Barrett said. “It caught me off guard, because I didn’t know he realized that or knew that we always knew he would be great.
“But he had to wait his turn. He did that with class.”
Wadley ran for 389 yards and five touchdowns in an opening night victory over Crowley, and finished the season with 2,490 yards rushing and 46 TDs.
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That season-long effort earned him the Associated Press Class 4A offensive player of the year selection, as voted on by statewide high school sportswriters.
Kennedale teammates Andrew Flanagan and Baron Browning were other area players who joined Wadley on the AP’s first team.
“I didn’t think he would get it, but I sure know he was deserving of it,” Barrett said. “When you do what he did that first night, you’re going to open some eyes. We weren’t surprised, but I know everyone else was.”
Wadley sat last season behind starter Juwan Washington, who’s now at San Diego State.
Barrett said Wadley’s play this season has produced at least one scholarship offer — currently to UTEP — and he’s expecting more for the 6-foot-1, 180-pound back.
“Because we’re not a predominately passing team, a lot of people don’t see what a complete player he is,” Barrett said. “He’s able to pick up the blitz and sustain his blocks and assignments, as well as sell the play-action both in the run and the pass.
“He’s just a very quiet guy that gets his work done, and that’s impressive. That’s just a great honor for him and his teammates, as well as our community.”