DAMASCUS, Va. (WJHL) — In our digital series ‘High School Standouts,’ Digital Sports Reporter Michael Epps features local athletes with incredible talent, hoping to take that talent to the next level.
These are athletes that stand out both on and off the field.
This week’s High School Standout is Quaheim Brooks, a senior football and boys basketball player at Holston High School.
1984 was a special year in Damascus.
“As players here, winning that feels like you’re a celebrity really like everybody comes up to you and respects you, it feels good,” Holston football and boys basketball senior Quaheim Brooks said.
That year, the Holston football and boys basketball teams both won the outright Hogoheegee District Championship. They haven’t won it since, until 2021!
“It felt good to get our names out there really let’s hope people know us as a group that we did it together,” Brooks said.
On the hardwood, the Cavs made history, winning the district regular season and tournament titles.
“They know what it takes to win and we hope they’re able to keep doing that,” Holston head football coach Derrick Patterson said.
So when Brooks and company eventually lost in the state quarterfinals and transitioned to the football season, they brought more history with them, winning the district in football too.
“This is the best team I’ve ever been on, we’ve all got a bond like we can joke around and have fun, I like this team,” Brooks said.
“It really was you know our basketball team did it first and of course Q and some of the other guys were a part of that as well on the basketball team and then for us to do it in football is really special,” Brooks said.
Quaheim (they call him Q) is the quarterback but doesn’t look like it when you see the electric plays he makes with his feet.
“It helps me a lot because they don’t know what I’m gonna do when I roll out the pocket the receivers think I’m gonna run so they come down hill really quick and then I can dump it off but if they stay back I can run so it’s tough to play us really,” Brooks said.
“I think he’s always had that natural ability to move and change directions but maybe not that straight line speed and that has kind of come along with it as he’s gotten older and it’s kinda amazing to see some of the plays he’s made this year,” Patterson said.
But then, he drops back and shows off the arm that has helped lead the Cavs to a trip to the region championship game.
“So hard like this summer that’s all I did really was throw I didn’t really work on agility but I worked on my arm to get better with that,” Brooks said.
“That’s probably where his work ethic has helped him the most is his ability to throw the ball he kinda has a natural arm talent but to coach him up on different types of fundamentals of playing the position I think our coaches have done a really good job with that,” Patterson said.
When looking at all this team has already accomplished, you can see all the hard work they’ve put in. A process that started a year ago.
“When we were shut down during the summer and we weren’t allowed to get together as a team those kids got together and threw and ran routes and of course coaches weren’t allowed to be involved but they told us ‘hey we’re working out we’re grinding we’re trying to get better’ and it has shown,” Patterson said.
“Working with these guys like we would meet up every day in the summer and throw routes all day and not get tired of it and that really helped me that’s all we talked about really we’d come here and throw and go to someone’s house and hang out and talk about what we were gonna do and lift and stuff we wanted this to be the best season we want a ring,” Brooks said.
The season finally came around pushed back to the spring. The Cavs were as confident as anyone but a loss to start the season was a moment for Quaheim and the rest of the team to look at themselves in the mirror.
“And we didn’t execute so we lost that game but he personally messaged me and say I’m sorry coach we’re gonna get it fixed we shouldn’t have lost that game and they’ve worked hard to fix it they’ve been more focused they’ve been more determined and it has shown,” Patterson said.
“That was really my first time showing leadership like I was goofing off and stuff before but after that loss it hit me like I gotta get serious and get the other guys serious and then it worked,” Brooks said.
Brooks has been through a number of learning experiences off the field, especially during his time in the foster care system. He’s from Asheville, North Carolina and spent some time in a home elsewhere in Southwest Virginia for a little while, before him and his brother were adopted by a family here in Damascus.
“A lot of people don’t really know his story but he has a really special story as a lot of kids here do but to see what he’s gone through and how he’s overcome it and the way he’s moving forward if he can continue to keep his head on straight and continue to work hard and be motivated by the things that have gone on in life and the goals that he wants to achieve the sky really is the limit for him,” Patterson said.
“I kinda liked it because if I didn’t move here I don’t know if I would be playing football I’d probably be somewhere else I don’t know so this really gave me a good opportunity to showcase this and be able to get in college really,” Brooks said.
Now after his senior year, he’s ready for that next step in his education and in his career. He does not have any scholarship offers yet but he wants to keep playing football.
“I wanna play bad I wanna play that’s what my goal is really this summer I’m gonna do the same thing and start throwing more work on my agility and I’m gonna start lifting a lot more,” Brooks said.
“He’s a special young man and he’s a good player and ultra competitive and I think that will help him to work hard and succeed at the college level both as a student and as an athlete and like I said he’s not one of those kids like oh I just want to play quarterback no he’s not like that he just wants an opportunity to play,” Patterson said.
Follow this series throughout the year as WJHL’s Michael Epps finds the High School Standout every week on WJHL.com.