WENDELL — Cole Sakowski knew he had some pretty big shoes to fill entering this season as the starting quarterback for Corinth Holders.
Kenny Collins threw for more than 2,500 yards in 2012 and led the Pirates on a late-season surge to earn a berth in the state playoffs.
Sakowski threw two passes all year.
“I was worried a little bit at first, but I knew that I was ready for it,” Sakowski said about becoming the starting quarterback. “I knew that I could fill those shoes; I was more ready than worried.”
But nine games into the season, the first-year starter has led Corinth Holders to a solid 6-3 record, thrown for more than 2,000 yards and erased any doubt on his ability to continue where Collins left off.
It’s been Sakowski’s decision-making that has proved to be a strength as he has completed more than 64 percent of his passes and thrown for 22 touchdowns and a more than two-to-one touchdown to interception ratio.
In addition to putting some hard work in during the off-season, Sakowski has spent time studying film after games to help improve his play.
“At this point in the season, he’s really grown up,” said Corinth Holders’ offensive coordinator Matt Migliore. “He’s seeing things that he didn’t see the first couple games, he’s understanding all of his reads now and everybody on the team now believes in him and trusts him.
“We’re excited that he’s here.”
Also excited are a group of talented wide receivers who are all benefiting from Sakowski’s efficient play this season.
Tori Carmichael, Tony Kirkwood, Hampton Smith and Dymon Walker are all suited for the Pirates up-tempo, no-huddle offense.
“In my opinion, we’re pretty loaded at the skill positions,” Migliore said. “That makes (Sakowski’s) job a little easier. There are not a lot of teams that can match up across the board with all four guys.”
Sakowski, who the Pirates initially considered as a potential starting quarterback back in his freshman season, has spread his passes around. Each of his four main receivers has more than 300 yards receiving.
“It’s awesome because you can just look out at the field and throw it to anybody and know that they’re going to be there and they’re going to catch it and they’re going to get positive yards out of it,” Sakowski said.
Sakowski is not letting the early successes of the season take away from his focus.
“We’re confident, but we know that puts a target on us,” Sakowski said. “Everybody wants to beat us and question whether we are for real or not. We’re just going to keep working hard and try to win out.”