Mike Dolan won’t face a tougher situation than he faced last year.
It’s also the reason why he has become one of the leaders of the Absegami
High School football team, and able to face adversity and uncertainty.
The Braves’ quarterback found himself thrust into the starting role as a
sophomore after star Rashad Kinlaw injured his leg. Dolan played the final five games of the season, as the Braves finished the year 3-2.
“I really didn’t have time to think about it,” Dolan said. “Rashad went
down in the middle of the game and was thrown right in. I didn’t really think about it.”
It was assumed that Kinlaw, one of the most highly-recruited players in the state, would return under center this season with Dolan back in the back-up role. However, Kinlaw injured himself again this summer in a national team game. Dolan once again is the starter, and he will lead the Braves into tonight's game at Egg Harbor Township, 7 p.m.
Dolan has built on the experience and confidence gained from the 2011
season to become one of the better quarterbacks in the Cape-Atlantic League.
The junior signal-caller and the Braves are 3-2, including a key win over
Millville. Dolan has thrown for 667 yards and three touchdowns this season, and more importantly become one of the leaders.
“Last year helped a lot,” Dolan explained. “Just from last year to this year,
I learned that the speed of the game from JV or anything else is a lot
different. I learned that when I’m throwing the ball I can’t hold it too long
and I have to know when the receivers are open. It’s different at this level
when receivers are open. Everything is quicker. The experience from last year helped make it a smoother transition.”
He is by no means satisfied and is always looking to improve.
“I think I have played OK,” Dolan said. ‘”I think our team needs to play
better. We are not playing to our expectations right now. We had a rough game last week (a loss to Holy Spirit). We just have to build on that and eliminate mistakes.”
“He really is a great leader,” Absegami coach Dennis Scuderi said. “He has
such a good disposition. In terms of his ability he can do big things. He also gets in the huddle and the kids respect him. He is the kid in school everyone likes. In general he is a good kid. In the total picture that’s who he is so it’s not surprising people follow him.”
It’s that disposition he has that has helped him handle the ups and downs of a football season.
Kinlaw may return as soon as tonight, but Dolan is still going to be under
center for most of the snaps. Kinlaw, who will be playing in the defensive
backfield for Notre Dame next year, is going to play some on defense, and may take some snaps under center.
“When Rashad comes back we will only get better,” Dolan said.