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David Ash: Not Slowing Down

He might be showing marked improvement in his game, but

don’t expect David Ash to take time to stop and smell the roses. The Belton

gunslinger and the lone take at the quarterback position for the Texas Longhorns

in the class of 2011 isn’t one to stop and admire his work – he’s too focused

on getting Belton ready for the 2010 season.
Even to ask the 6-foot-3, 215-pound Ash about what areas of

his game he feels he’s improved on the most over the past year and he has a

hard time finding a way to brag on himself.

“You’d have to ask somebody else,” Ash said. “I really

couldn’t tell you.”

One needs to look no further than this past weekend’s

7-on-7 State Tournament to see how much Ash has improved his game. His

velocity, his touch and his ability to throw an accurate deep ball have all

improved greatly. Combining the on the field performance with his leadership,

command of a huddle and poise, Ash has made it clear that he is very much in

the conversation as the state’s top signal caller in the class of 2011.

Heading into the tournament Belton was looked at as a

team that could potentially make a run through the 64-team Division I field, a

notion based largely on Ash’s presence. That could be viewed as a blessing and

curse – having arguably the state’s best quarterback on their side would likely

put a target on Ash giving teams a reason to being their “A” game when they

going up against Belton.

Ash, however, is less concerned about how people view him

or what being target for an opposing team entails and more concerned with what

his team is able to get done on the field.

“It’s not about me – it’s about the Belton Tigers,” Ash

said. “We’re a team. We win as a team, we lose as a team, we work together as a

team and being is team is what it’s all about.”

The Tigers fared well in pool play on Friday beating

Lufkin and PSJA Memorial before falling to DeSoto in the final game of the day.

The Tigers managed to make it into the championship bracket but were beaten in

their first game of the day on Saturday by Plano.

Finishing the tournament with a 2-2 record, Ash said the

experience the Tigers gained in College Station was enjoyable.

“Its fun throwing and catching,” Ash said. “It’s always

fun to compete and this really helps you get ready for the fall.”

The Tigers went 10-2 last fall, their best season in several

years and the top season ever under head coach Rodney Southern. Belton also won

the District 12-5A championship and a bi-district championship in the process,

in addition to winning a nationally televised game on ESPNU against arch rival

Temple.

Belton’s performance on the field last year can be traced

back to last summer’s 7-on-7 showings and Ash is hoping the correlation is the

same this season.

Ash said it was largely

the success that the Tigers enjoyed last summer at a national passing

tournament in Louisiana that proved to be a great experience that he said

helped the Tigers gain confidence that they could play with virtually anyone.

While having success helped the team, Ash said he also

feels the mental side of 7-on-7 helped last summer and he’s hoping the success

the Tigers enjoyed this summer will have the same effect when fall practices

start in a few weeks.

“One of the biggest things is it keeps you from not

thinking about football,” Ash said. “You come out here to think about football

and it’s helped. Last summer we did really well and at that point we believed

we belonged. So it builds confidence.”

One thing that helped Belton build confidence in College

Station was Ash’s arm – especially against two of the best teams in the

tournament. Against Lufkin and DeSoto, who went onto runner-up finishes in the

consolation and championship brackets respectively, Ash showed that he can step

up in the pocket and drive the ball into tight windows against some of the best

skill athletes in Texas. He also did a good of putting the ball in good spots

where his receiver had a chance to make a play on the ball.

Ash said that his work at the Texas camp on June 6

against fellow Longhorn commit Quandre Diggs, as well as getting to throw

against campers David Jenkins and Charles Jackson, along with his experience

over the weekend has gone a long way toward getting him ready for the next

level.

“It’s a challenge,” Ash said. “The windows close a lot

faster on you so you’ve really got to work on getting the ball out quicker.”

One thing Ash’s presence also did over the weekend was

allow a few of Belton’s receivers to shine while the offense got picked up

nicely in spots by the defense. Senior wide receiver Adrian Henderson proved to

be Ash’s go-to receiver while senior cornerback Darrius White and junior safety

Tramaine Rose made several big plays on defense.

While Belton might not have the same caliber of athletes

across the board like a Lufkin or DeSoto, Ash said that he hopes the way some

of his teammates played will show that Belton has some players.

“Nobody thinks that we have the athletes,” Ash said. “We

feel we can go out and play with the guys who are really athletic.”

Above everything though, perhaps the best thing to come

out of this summer for Ash and the Belton program is the rapport he’s been able

to develop with his receivers. The Tigers graduated several of the team’s top

receivers from last year and with

Henderson emerging as a receiving threat to go along with the

highly-anticipated arrival of 2013 move-in speedster Wolf Mahler, the talent

and chemistry should both be there for the Belton passing game this fall.

“That’s a big part of 7-on-7,” Ash said. “It’s about

coming together and working on timing and gelling. I think right now, we’re at

the point where everything is starting to come together.” Just don’t expect him to shout from the rooftops that

he’s the reason everything looks good for Belton to have another fine year in

2010.