Independence QB Brian Courtney (Photo: Joe Barnes/recruitNoVA)
Brian Courtney will lead Independence against Lafayette on Saturday
by Jim McGrath, recruitNoVA
It is said that one player can make the difference in a team’s upward progression, simply by the attention and accolades that the person earns.
If that is the case, then the Independence high school football team may be experiencing an early surge that Coach RJ Windows and staff could use to propel to state championship heights in the coming years.
A prime example of the second-year team’s notoriety occurred last weekend when Brian Courtney (c/o 2022, 6-3 225) quarterback for the state semifinalist Tigers announced his commitment to play his collegiate football with Florida State University.
For Courtney, whose team is preparing for a Saturday afternoon Class 3 matchup with Williamsburg’s Lafayette High, the rise to Power Five popularity was sudden.
In their initial season, Independence lost its first eight games before breaking into the win column in a most explosive way – with 88 points against Park View. The Tigers won their next game, 29-28 against Rock Ridge, earning a surprising playoff berth and finishing 2-9.
This season has seen a dramatic turnaround, with the Tigers currently posting a 5-1 mark, including last week’s 27-17 win over Goochland in the Region 3B final.
Courtney has been the catalyst on offense, rushing for over 1,000 yards (and a dozen scores), while throwing for over 700, with ten touchdowns.
Yet with his size and strength, the Seminoles may have other plans for the junior.
“I really enjoyed my conversations with (Head) Coach (Mike) Norvell and (offensive coordinator) Coach (Kenny) Dillingham. They were very enthusiastic about me and I liked the plan they had for how to use me,” said Courtney, whose team will play at Wanner Stadium in Williamsburg on Saturday at 2 PM. “They want to use me at tight end and talked about how they line their TE up at lots of different places. And that they want me to do some pass rushing on defense.”
And while Courtney, with a 4.2 grade-point average and a 1470 SAT score, can gain acceptance to almost every school in America based solely on academics, he appreciated the extra mile traveled by the Seminole staff.
“I’d say the first (reason for choosing Florida State) is the level of competition that FSU plays at. I always want to compete against the best and they can provide that. More importantly, they were very consistent with their recruiting effort.”
The Independence – Lafayette winner will host the victor of the Lord Botetourt/Liberty Christian contest for the Class 3 championship on Saturday, May 1.
– Jim McGrath