When you have “Brady” in your name as a quarterback, you’re held to a pretty high standard.
Although he might not have five Super Bowl wins like Tom Brady, East senior Brady Douthat has done some remarkable things over the span of his football career at the quarterback position.
However, it wasn’t always like that.
In 2016 with the Tartans, Douthat played behind quarterback Drew Lowe who led East to a 10-1 record and a playoff appearance.
Rather than get down on himself for not playing quarterback, Douthat continued to contribute to his team at other positions on the field.
“It just depended on the game, I was a spot player,” Douthat said. “I played a lot of fullback, tight end, wide receiver. On defense, I played nose guard, outside linebacker, corner … just anywhere they needed me.”
“On special teams I was kicker and punter, I was just that utility guy. I was the janitor, I just did whatever I needed to do.”
Thought it was a change of pace, Douthat really learned to appreciate the sport more as the season transpired.
“My junior year was one of my favorite years of football, getting to experience something outside the quarterback position,” Douthat said. “It was definitely different, but it was a fun year.”
Douthat threw for two touchdowns and rushed for another his junior season, and also accounted for 31 tackles (nine for a loss), two interceptions, and four deflections on defense.
After transferring to Sciotoville to go to school from Portsmouth West, Douthat had two years of his career left.
His senior season, this past year with the Tartans, Douthat won the starting quarterback job. After East lost a multitude of offensive weapons, including running back Akia Brown who rushed for over 1,000 yards every year in his career, it seemed as though the Tartans would take a step back.
“We weren’t expected to do what we did, to go 9-3 and go to the second round of the playoffs,” Douthat said. “The team we had my junior year, we went 10-1 and won the conference championship. That should have been the team to win the first playoff game.”
Instead it was the 2017 East squad who captured the first playoff victory in school history, due in large part to a stellar campaign from Douthat at the quarterback position.
In his senior season, Douthat threw for 1402 yards and 25 touchdowns with only five interceptions. He also rushed for 420 yards and five scores, and defensively racked up 41 total tackles and an interception of his own.
Douthat would break Lowe’s single season passing record with those numbers, but most importantly helped lead the Tartans to a historic milestone with the playoff victory.
“It was great having all those fans travel with us, and it was just a great feeling,” Douthat said. “Everyone was out on the field after the game. The fans were crying, we were crying, the coaches were crying, it was just a great atmosphere.”
It took a loss for East to realize what they were capable of early in the season, though, as the Tartans hung tight with Danville (who finished 12-2 and made it to the state semifinals) all the way until the final quarter.
“After we played Danville, it was kind of a turning point,” Douthat said. “We realized we could do something special, and after that we just kept our nose to the grindstone and we pulled out a 9-3 season and won the first playoff game.”
Just to get to that point, though, it took something special in its own right.
Douthat wasn’t sure if transferring to East would be the right move at first, questioning how he would be accepted by his new classmates.
However, that never became an issue.
“It was definitely a transition from West to East,” Douthat said. “I felt like I fit right in, they’re great people.”
“Coming from West, I was looking at it like how do I handle the transition, do I change how I am or anything? I just came in and acted like how I was and I fit right in.”
Now, after it’s nearly all said and done, Douthat realizes he made the right choice.
“I wouldn’t have made a different decision if someone paid me to do it,” Douthat said. “I love East, I’m ready to be an alum from East, and I’m always going to be a Tartan.”
“It’s a very backing community. We’re a small community, but everyone is at every athletic event, school event, and it’s great to see the community being interested and involved with everything.”
Still, his former school imprinted a lasting impression on the person he would become at East.
Looking back, there was plenty to reflect on in his time as a Senator.
“I had a lot of memories there,” Douthat said. “I won a lot of football games in a West uniform, and only had one losing season my sophomore year.”
While he learned a lot about the quarterback position at West, he also developed a mentality that most Senators seem to possess.
“They’re known for hitting,” Douthat said. “Those guys, it doesn’t matter if they’re 105 pounds or 250 pounds, they hit hard. That’s just the way we were raised over there.”
After leaving West to make the switch to East, Douthat said there’s no bad blood between his former school. In fact, a lot of his success is credit to the coaching he received while with the Senators.
“West was a great football program, and I expect them to do better things as the years go on,” Douthat said. “They’ve got a lot of good talent coming up, and Coach [Ben] Johnson and Coach Jared and Trevon Pendleton are good coaches.”
Douthat was able to develop a great relationship with his new head coach at East, James Gifford, almost immediately.
“Coach Gifford, he’s more of a mentor than anything,” Douthat said. “He’s done a lot for me, and he’s helped me out through a lot of things outside of football and outside of the classroom.”
Gifford and Douthat were able to create a lot of lasting memories, but Douthat says his favorite is the 2016 game against Notre Dame.
“The most exciting moment ever for me was when we were running out on that field in Spartan Stadium my junior year, playing for conference and to get into the playoffs,” Douthat said. “That place was packed, and that’s a big stadium.”
“Running out on that field, there’s people lining the track. We were the last game in Scioto County in the regular season, it was one of the best times.”
The Tartans went on to win 32-26 with some late game heroics, and Douthat showed out on a big stage with seven tackles (one for a loss), a forced fumble, and a pass deflection.
“I had a good game that game, we won, it was so fun,” Douthat said. “Both sides were involved, it was crazy.”
Those big games are just one of the things that Douthat will miss about playing football on Friday nights.
“A lot of people don’t understand how special it is, you sacrifice a lot of time,” Douthat said. “It’s a great feeling to be a part of something that only 50 or 60 guys are a part of.”
“I’ll miss that tight-knit feel, that family feel.”
His days of strapping up a helmet aren’t over just yet, either.
“I had eight scholarships to go play at the NAIA level, and some D-II,” Douthat said. “But, me and my father and mother, we decided that I’m going to go into the Ohio Army National Guard and walk on at a Division I level college.”
“I’m not sure exactly where, I’m looking at Ohio or Kent State, places like that. I don’t know what my football career will hold, but I’ll be on the sidelines somewhere.”
A smart kid and a great leader, the days of Douthat haven’t been numbered just yet. In fact, his legacy is only beginning.
It’s a Brady thing.
Reach Benjamin Spicer at (502)264-7318 on Twitter @BSpicerPDT or at Facebook.com/ReporterBenSpicer
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