WATCH: Teurlings Catholic QB Hayden Cantrelle On 2016 Season
You don't find athletes like Hayden Cantrelle every day. Teurlings Catholic's senior quarterback is a menace with the football in his hands, but he's even better on the baseball diamond.
Cantrelle is already committed to play shortstop for Tony Robichaux and the Ragin' Cajuns. In his mind, it was an easy decision.
"One of the top programs in the country, why not stay home?" Cantrelle explains simply.
His quick reactions, eye-hand coordination and competitive nature carry over from the baseball diamond to the football field, along with his mentality and some of the moves he makes. How does he think his skills with the glove and bat help him with a helmet and pads?
"You have to take it snap to snap, and some of the athletic movements, maybe it converts, but I'm not sure which ones," Cantrelle says with a smile.
Football recruiters often use the term "athlete" to describe players with incredible versatility. Cantrelle fits that bill perfectly.
When things get chaotic in the pocket, he escapes out and makes plays with his legs. Most opposing defensive coordinators would agree, sometimes he's more dangerous when the play breaks down.
It happens several times a game. Cantrelle escapes the pass rush, extends a play and either takes off for a big gain or throws on the run to an open receiver downfield. You can execute your play perfectly on defense, and he will still make you pay.
"When the pocket starts to break down, I just become an athlete at that point," Cantrelle says. "I just do what my instincts let me do."
He describes his skills as a quarterback with three words: creative, different and unorthodox. When you go out to practice or watch him on field, you see him scramble one direction, throw the ball across his body off of one foot and deliver a dime. It goes against most coaching practices, but if it works, it works.
Most football players model their game around somebody they watch in the pro's or at the college level. Cantrelle's idol is Louisville quarterback and Heisman front-runner Lamar Jackson. When you watch Cantrelle on Friday nights, you can see the same playmaking ability on display.
Cantrelle takes what the defense gives him. When he sees an open receiver, he fires a bullet into their chest or lobs a ball deep downfield. If the defense has his targets covered, he starts scrambling. With the help and football intelligence of Head Coach Sonny Charpentier, his son Roch, and the rest of the coaching staff, Cantrelle is a weapon of mass destruction.
Coaching goes a long way, and Cantrelle absorbs it like a sponge. He whips out lengthy play calls and makes the checks to his receivers with hand symbols and key words like it's nothing. He gives a lot of the credit to Sonny and his staff.
"It's awesome to share knowledge with a coach like that. Him, and also the rest of the offensive staff, it's just so much knowledge thrown around. I feel sometimes like I don't belong," Cantrelle states humbly. "It's so truly a blessing."
The coaching staff would probably say the same thing. It's a blessing to have a player like Cantrelle on your roster.
His senior season is flying by. Eight weeks into the season, Cantrelle can hardly believe how far the team's journey has taken them.
"It just goes by so fast," Cantrelle reflects. "You try to slow down every now and then, and whenever you can, just take it all in."
Before you know it, Cantrelle will be fielding grounders, stealing bases and scoring runs for the Ragin' Cajuns Baseball team. Until his graduation though, he will continue terrorizing the high school ranks...in two different sports.