Vernon’s Tye Kitzman will have a chance to test his arm against the best in B.C. at the inaugural Damon Allen High School Quarterback Challenge.
The Grade 10 Fulton student earned an invite to the QB Challenge, which gives young athletes a chance to measure their skills amongst their peers. The top three scoring quarterbacks at the event, held at the Richmond Olympic Oval, will be awarded partial university scholarships.
“I’m just hoping to compare myself against other kids my age and be able to focus everything on quarterback skills,” said Kitzman, who describes himself as an agile QB.
“I’m not a real pocket passer; I’m a good scrambler. I play like Robert Griffin III (Washington Redskins’ QB).”
Kitzman, who also plays rugby and basketball at Fulton, got hooked on football at a young age. He credits Vernon Minor Football coaches Chris Sochan and Bryan Cragg for boosting his interest in the sport at an early age.
“Those two were a huge part of the growth for me,” he said. “I play with Bryan in a men’s flag football league now. He’s followed me all the way through.
“I’ve been playing ever since I was six or seven and I’ve just loved it ever since. And I’ve wanted to work hard towards it, play somewhere and make a living at it.”
In watching Kitzman’s development, Cragg sees heaps of potential in the 6-foot-2, 160-pounder.
“For his age, there’s a ton of athletes out there, but what sets him apart is this kid is smart; he learns real quick,” said Cragg.
“And he can throw a football that’ll break your fingers if you’re not paying attention.”
The other thing that impresses Cragg about Kitzman is his drive and maturity, especially for someone his age.
“He goes down to camps whenever he can. He wants it bad.”
Kitzman has already been hard at work seeking out showcase and development camps. He enrolled in the Just Run training camp hosted by ex-NFL running back J.R. Redmond last summer at Polson Park. He also participated in a university camp last weekend in Vancouver and will attend another one at Oregon University in July.
“I’ve got lots lined up,” smiled Kitzman, who plans to study physical sciences at university.
Created by CFL Hall of Fame quarterback Damon Allen, the QB Challenge features an impressive list of presenters, guests and coaches. The event will also include drum lines, cheerleading demos, mascots, high-level warm ups, and a list of star mentors, including former and present B.C. Lions and British Columbian Olympic medal winners.
“Canadian football builds spirit, masters skills and is the stepping stone to showcase how great you can be,” said Allen. “There is nothing comparable to working hard for what you love and watching it become better than you ever thought it could be.”