Diamante Burton doesn’t look like your prototypical quarterback. In fact, the 5-foot-7-inch, 145-pound junior is still listed as a running back on the Canyon Springs roster.
But after passing for 367 yards and four touchdowns last week, it’s clear that Burton’s immediate future is as the team’s signal-caller.
“It’s starting to fit me more, because it feels like I’m making the offense more successful,” Burton said. “Because at running back, it wasn’t.”
Burton will lead the Pioneers (3-1) as they host sixth-ranked Basic (3-0) at 7 p.m. Friday.
Burton played running back for Canyon Springs last season, and even started at that position against Sunrise Mountain last week. But he quickly shifted to quarterback and completed 22 of 30 passes and also rushed for a touchdown in a 33-27 road win. For the season, Burton has passed for 601 yards.
“Diamante, that kid has been a team guy,” first-year Pioneers coach Gus McNair said. “He wants to get everybody involved. That’s what he’s all about.
“I think we had five receivers over 60 yards last week, and that’s trying to get the team involved. He’s stepping into that role and really leading.”
Burton has had a hand in all 11 Canyon Springs touchdowns this season, passing for eight and running for three. Against Sunrise Mountain, Lazarus Kyle caught eight passes for 159 yards and two scores.
“Diamante’s obviously fallen into place, finding a new home at quarterback,” McNair said. “Lazarus Kyle had a breakout game, and we’re just looking to build off those things.”
The Pioneers might need plenty of offense to stick with Basic. The Wolves are averaging 55.7 points a game, and quarterback Aaron McAllister is coming off a six-touchdown performance in a 47-13 win over Clark.
“We’ve been preparing for them, because their quarterback just threw for six touchdown passes,” Canyon Springs safety Johnathan Bailey said. “We’re out here trying to make sure we don’t let that happen, that our secondary is ball hawks this week.”
McAllister has passed for 904 yards and 15 TDs with just two interceptions. DeShawn Eagles has emerged as his favorite target with 22 catches for 354 yards and five scores.
“We’re going to look to fly around and keep playing ball like we have been,” McNair said. “Our defense, I don’t want to say fell off a little bit (last week), but we kind of got relaxed a little bit. Everybody started to know how well we played defense and then we got a little content. We need that mentality of always playing every play, every down.”
The Pioneers already have matched last season’s win total, but the team isn’t ready to slow down.
“It’s making us more hungry,” Kyle said of the early wins. “We want more success.”
Contact prep sports editor Damon Seiters at 702-380-4587 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @DamonSeiters