Urbana High School of Frederick County, Md. finished with a 6-4 overall record during the 2011-12 football season, good for a middle-of-the-pack 29th place ranking in the entire state of Maryland.

But Urbana’s varsity football team is hoping to improve its standings this coming season under the leadership of new starting quarterback Donovan Pannell.

At age 15, Pannell is only entering his sophomore season as a high school athlete. But he’s been playing youth football for more than a decade, including six years as a quarterback. The 5-foot-10, 194-pound passer manned the quarterback position for Mt. Airy Youth League varsity team for the past three years.

Pannell told the AFRO he’s “really excited” about his opportunity to start as a signal caller for Urbana’s varsity team.

“I love playing the quarterback position and just playing football in general,” he said. “It will be a challenge coming into this season for me, but I’m ready for it.”

Pannell has been training hard throughout this summer to prepare himself for the challenge of leading a varsity football team at the quarterback position. He participated in three different football training camps during the month of June, including a camp held at the University of Virginia on June 19. There, he was named the Most Valuable Player of his age/grade group (10th grade).

“We did a lot of footwork drills and passing drills, from short to medium to deep target accuracy,” Pannell said. “It was fun and exciting to be selected as MVP among so many others players that attended.”

Pannell also competed in a 7-on-7 passing competition sponsored by Under Armour at the Baltimore Ravens’ M&T Bank Stadium on June 9, where he advanced as one of eight finalists in the competition that featured more than 1,200 players from 64 different schools. Pannell threw a total of 18 touchdowns to just four interceptions throughout the Under Armour competition.
Pannell then participated in another 7-on-7 passing competition held at the University of Maryland on the following weekend.

“It’s been a lot of hard work, but it’ll all pay off,” said Pannell, who hopes to play football as long as he can. “I’d love to play collegiate football one day and even play professionally if my career makes it that far.

“For now, I just hope I continue to play well in high school and prepare for college opportunities,” said Pannell, who wants to study business with a goal of one day owning and operating his own chain of restaurants. “I love to cook!”

In the meantime, Pannell will continue cooking up success on the football field. Urbana’s season is scheduled to begin on Aug. 21 against Springbrook High of Silver Spring, Md.

Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor