With Christian Ponder set to take over as Vikings starting QB, we thought it would be fun to look back at the first time he was heading into such a momentous occasion -- his senior year in high school as the starting QB at Colleyville Heritage near Dallas, Texas. Staff librarian Sandy Date pulled out a bunch of stories, primarily from the Dallas Morning News. Here are excerpts from a feature that ran Aug. 31, 2005:
Before the senior follows his father's footsteps to Florida State, Ponder will focus on trying to make Colleyville Heritage a champion. The program has won only seven games the last two seasons, but a new offense - the team switched to a no-huddle spread from a one-back run-oriented base - has Ponder and coach Chris Cunningham optimistic.
"We're going to take advantage of all the things he's able to do," Cunningham said. "He is a great passer and very effective runner."
With Ponder under center, Colleyville Heritage had the third-best offense among 5A area teams last season, averaging 432.4 yards per game. Only Southlake Carroll (506.1) and Arlington Sam Houston (434.8) averaged more yards.
Ponder passed for 1,451 yards and six touchdowns in the old offense, not bad considering the team averaged 284.3 rushing yards per game.
Colleyville Heritage experimented with the spread toward the end of last season and saw results. Ponder threw for 594 yards - more than 40 percent of his season total - along with three touchdowns and two interceptions, in his final three games.
Ponder and the team worked with the offense in 7-on-7 football over the summer. Colleyville Heritage finished third in the 7-on-7 state tournament in College Station.
"We did well over the summer and improved a lot, and I'm getting more and more comfortable with the new offense," Ponder said. "I think our team's going to upset some people."
Did you know?: Ponder, who takes advanced placement courses, said he scored a 940 on the SAT as a seventh-grader through Duke University's Talent Identification Program.
Quotable: "Everyone wants to be mentioned among the top names, but right now, there's more of a need for me to go out and win for my team. I want my team to be successful." - Ponder on being compared to the area's other highly touted quarterbacks.
Plenty of people now want your team to be successful, Christian. We shall see the progression, starting Sunday. Also, for fun, here is a Rivals.com scouting video from his high school days: