MIDLOTHIAN, VA (WWBT) - When Brendon Clark was 5 years old, Manchester Head Football Coach Tom Hall gave him a Nerf football when the two crossed paths at a softball tournament.
“From that day, I think he was like 5 years old, you could just tell - him throwing the football - that he was going to be something special,” Hall recalls.
That was the birth of the football career of one of the best high school quarterbacks our area has seen. Clark got involved with the Manchester program at the age of six as a ball boy, dreaming of one day taking the field for the Lancers.
“I used to dream of it,” said Clark. “I had a jersey, I’d be running around throwing the ball to the refs across the field, just thinking I was actually in the game, but I wasn’t.”
“Watching him on the sideline when he was a little kid throwing a high school football out to midfield, and the officials were like ‘who’s this kid?’ And I was like ‘that’s going to be my future quarterback,’” adds Hall.
Clark says that Hall told him at 12 years old that he would start at quarterback as a freshman, and after a successful stint in the junior varsity ranks, the head coach’s prediction came true. The ninth-grader took the field as the starting QB for the Lancers in 2015. That season would be cut short by a knee injury, but the time that Clark was able to see proved valuable going forward.
“I started my first game not very well,” he remembers. “I think I threw like a pick and a fumble my first couple drives, but after that I just kind of settled in and focused on what I had to do.”
Clark would shine during his sophomore and junior seasons, helping to lead Manchester to back-to-back 11-2 campaigns, both of which included state quarterfinal appearances. Those two years saw Clark grow as a player, both on and off the field. He made progress reading defenses and picking up what opponents were trying against him, and also developed as a leader and a teammate.
During this past off-season, Clark attended the Elite-11 Quarterback Camp in Los Angeles, asserting himself as one of the best in the country. Shortly after, he committed to Notre Dame.
His senior season has been masterful. Clark has led the Lancers to a 14-0 record, throwing 33 touchdown passes and just one interception. He’s proven to be a force with his legs as well, finding the endzone on the ground plenty of times. Manchester won its first region title and will play for its first ever state championship on Saturday. Capping off his high school career with the ultimate prize would be a perfect ending to a fun, eventful journey for Clark.
“It would mean a lot to me. Just kind of all growing up, dreamed of this, all the hard work and preparation myself and my teammates have put in, it would just top everything off perfectly.”
The Lancers kickoff against Freedom on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. at Hampton University.