High School Football

Record-setting QB has Kamiakin in hunt

KENNEWICK -- There are a few good words to describe Kamiakin quarterback Joey Jansen:

Excitable is one of them.

Case in point, his parents still call him 'Tigger', after the peppy and relentless tiger from the Winnie the Pooh children's story.

"Because he's always bouncing around," said his younger brother Johnny, a sophomore linebacker and backup quarterback on the Braves varsity.

Once during a poker party at a friend's house, the speedy senior charged out the door and down a neighborhood block to track down a suspected culprit who had toilet-papered his buddy's home.

"It happened right in front of us," said fellow senior A.J. Griffiths, who is part of the Braves' talented crew of wide receivers. "Joey claims he saw something and runs out the front door at 4 in the morning, down the street at his fastest -- and he's unbelievably fast -- yelling, 'Come on! Let's go!' "

And Jansen's as full of juice as ever. Ask any one of his teammates on game day. Of course, some are better at reining him in than others.

"Joey's a fiery guy, and Timmy just throws gas on the fire," Griffiths said of Tim White, yet another richly gifted Kamiakin wideout. "He'll start talking to Timmy, and Timmy's like, 'Yeah! Yeah! Lets go, lets go!' And we haven't even hit the field yet for warm-ups.

"Me and Tyler (Holle) have to tell him, 'Let's try focusing a little bit and not worry about all this.' "

Here's another terrific word to describe Jansen:

Resilient.

As a three-sport standout growing up, Jansen has certainly hit a few injury snags along the way. But not if he could help it.

"He broke his foot one year. He was toughing it out, playing with a little boot on his foot. But he still got MVP of the Kiona-Benton camp that year," Johnny said. "It was crazy how he could do that through all the pain. It had to be difficult, but he was still the fastest kid there."

But Jansen couldn't quite find his way around an ACL tear in his left knee during basketball season in his sophomore year.

The injury forced him to miss the 2009 football season and also required a great deal of rehabilitation and patience -- a tough couple of pills to swallow for an athlete who knows he can make a difference on the field.

"It hurts. You can't go a day without playing or doing something athletic," Jansen said. "You're built that way to want to do and play."

It made things especially tough on Jansen to think how his passing talents would be showcased in coach Scott Biglin's new spread offense in 2009. But Biglin, a former quarterback who had suffered a season-ending injury himself -- an ankle injury while at Whitworth -- knew there were other ways he could prepare.

"One of the things it does is make you a little more hungry," Biglin said. "You've got to learn the game mentally now and learn the reads without actually going through it. He did a great job coming out and learning every day at practice so when he came out this season it was like he already had a year under his belt."

And what a year it's been. Jansen has been nothing short of spectacular, completing 57.9 percent of his passes for 2,123 yards and a CBBN-best 176.0 passer-efficiency rating.

Best of all? With his fourth touchdown pass during a 52-6 Week 8 rout of Hanford, Jansen broke Kamiakin's single-season record for touchdown passes with 26. That's not his only record this season, either. He also tied the single-game record for passing yards, throwing for 370 in a 34-6 Week 2 clobbering of Moses Lake.

"Once I found out I was close I started getting my hopes up," Jansen said. "I was relieved when I broke it. Whenever there's a record, I start to tense up."

Of course, the 5-foot-10 left-hander didn't stop there. He passed for two more TDs during last week's 30-15 win over Eastmont and can add to that total during tonight's GSL-CBBN crossovers.

The No. 5 Braves (9-0) will play host to Southridge (4-5) at 7 p.m. at Lampson Stadium.

Before he's done at Kamiakin, Jansen will choose a college -- he's still undecided -- and play some baseball in the spring, where he's a center fielder and pitcher.

Speaking of which, here's another fine word that applies to Jansen: versatile.

In fact, this winter he might even try his hand at basketball again.

"If he didn't shoot a basketball for a year, he could still go out and make 10 3-pointers," said Holle, still one more cog in the Braves' ridiculous corps of receivers and a starter for the hoops team that fell heartbreakingly short of the 4A state tournament last season.

Holle also noted one more attribute Jansen brings to a basketball court.

"He's also a great passer," he said.

No kidding.

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