Bonneville High School quarterback Brock Saxton is always trying to emulate Peyton Manning.
From his throwing mechanics, to his jersey number (18), to the way he throws off his back foot one Wednesday afternoon outside Bonneville High School, Saxton patents his game after the former NFL gunslinger.
“That’s kind of who he fashions himself after, and without fail, he’s almost like him,” Bees’ quarterbacks coach Casey Faulkner said. “(Saxton)’s very cerebral. He’s one of those kids that has the ability to diagnose defenses, exploit weaknesses … That’s probably his greatest asset: what he has above the shoulder pads.”
Let’s be realistic: Saxton isn’t in the NFL. And he certainly doesn’t have Manning’s football pedigree.
But like his idol’s importance to the Denver Broncos and Indianapolis Colts, Saxton is a core piece to his team’s success in 2017.
“I’m a pocket passer,” Saxton said. “If I could throw the ball 30 to 40 times a game, I would love that … but whatever works the best for our team, I’m willing to do.”
Saxton, in his third varsity season, is slated to control the Bee’s offense alongside play makers Dillon Sorensen and Austin Ford.
Head coach Matt Virgil said his team will run a spread offense and allow Saxton to “sling the ball.”
It should produce results, too.
Saxton, a senior, threw five touchdown passes of 20-yards plus during his junior season. The longest was an 89-yard touchdown throw against Highland.
“Our offense is going to be good. Me and Brock have a great connection,” Sorensen said. “We’ve played together for about six years. We’ve had a lot of time together.”
His path to the Bees’ starting role, though, hasn’t been easy.
Saxton started at the varsity level late in his sophomore year, he said, before sharing time at the helm with 2016 graduate Saia Taufatofua, occasionally switching between varsity and JV during his junior season.
Saxton added playing at the junior varsity level was “a little easy” for him — despite the frustration of alternating between two teams. He did get to call his own plays last year, something not even his idol was allowed to do.
“I like the competition on varsity,” Saxton said. “It gives me a bit of a challenge.”
But with the playmakers No. 18 has on offense beside him, Saxton may make 2017 look easy, too.
“He’s a smart kid, and athletic,” Virgil said. “And anytime they’re smart, it opens the door to run some more complex concepts and I think he does that very, very well.
“It’s like having a coach in the huddle.”
Weight: 160 lbs
Notables: This will be Saxton’s third year on Bonneville’s varsity squad.
He started varsity at the tail end of his sophomore season before splitting time at the JV and varsity levels during his junior year.