A high school quarterback comes back big after a lost year

ByKaty Reckdahl

NEW ORLEANS — For quarterback Raphael Reed, this school year has been one step forward, then two steps back. But during a Thursday-night football game in October, he felt nothing but forward momentum.

As the clock ran out that night, Reed, 16, tossed a perfect touchdown pass, winning the game. In the stands, Frederick Douglass High School fans dressed in blue and gray screamed themselves hoarse.

It was a rare moment of pure triumph, in an exhausting school year that has brought one disaster after another, from Covid surges to bus-driver shortages to hurricane blackouts — with barely time to recover and breathe in between. It’s a sharp contrast to how the year was framed, as a return to relative normalcy. As a comeback year.

Reed knows comebacks. Last fall — his freshman year at Douglass, in New Orleans — he rarely showed up on Zoom screens.

“Teachers knew him as a kid on their roster who didn’t come to class,” said Kerry Taylor, 26, Reed’s offensive coordinator and quarterback coach.

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