Ladowski gained ground in debut season at quarterback
by Staff Writer
by Cliff Mehrtens
MOORESVILLE – In an area dominated by passing quarterbacks, Josh Ladowski stood out for a different reason.
Ladowski, a sophomore at Lake Norman High, rushed for more yards than any lake-area running back or quarterback. He is Mooresville Weekly’s Football Offensive Player of the Year.
Ladowski carried 224 times for 1,264 yards and 11 touchdowns, all school records for a quarterback. His season-high was 211 yards (and two scores against Statesville), and he had solid games against West Iredell (160 yards, touchdown), North Iredell (148 yards, three touchdowns) and rival Mooresville (117 yards, touchdown).
Four lake-area quarterbacks passed for more than 2,000 yards, but none of those were close to Ladowski’s rushing totals.
“I love being a running quarterback,” Ladowski said. “Even if a play breaks down, it gives me the opportunity to make a positive out of it.
Ladowski had six games of 100 or more rushing yards, but wasn’t a one-dimensional quarterback. He also completed 70 of 125 passes (56 percent) for 853 yards and five touchdowns. Not bad for a guy who’d never played quarterback before this season.
“Josh had the best season a quarterback has ever had at Lake Norman as a run threat,” Wildcats coach Rob McNeely said. “He is definitely the best athlete and most competitive player we’ve had at the position. He would be the first to tell you it’s not all him, it’s the other 10 guys out there and the coaches that put their trust in him because we know what he can do with the ball in his hands either throwing or running.”
Ladowski played well in Lake Norman’s biggest game of the year, too. The Wildcats needed to beat rival Mooresville in the regular-season finale to ensure a playoff spot. Ladowski passed for 156 yards and two touchdowns. He ran for 117 yards and a score in the 27-26 overtime victory.
He was voted most valuable player by his teammates and was named to the I-MECK 4A all-conference team. His 211 rushing yards against Statesville set a school record.
Ladowksi credited Braden Morrow, Lake Norman’s other quarterback, for pushing him in practice. He’s also spending the winter running for the school’s indoor track team, hoping to increase his speed for football.
“We wanted to make the playoffs and I wish we could have won a playoff game,” Ladowski said. “Another goal was to beat Mooresville, so doing that in overtime was definitely a thrill. I definitely want to improve my passing. That will come from (off-season) repetitions and by improving my strength.”
Ladowski’s statistics are more impressive considering he missed the first game of the season because of a death in the family. He helped the Wildcats (5-7) win two of their final three regular-season games, which secured a playoff spot. They lost to Mallard Creek in the first round.
“He has already been talking about next year and is running sprints with the indoor track team,” McNeely said. “What more could you ask from a leader?”