PDT Sports Writer
To Kentucky Warriors quarterback Jonathon Schweickart, football is a religion.
“It’s like going to church on Sunday,” he said. “I’ve got to get my football fix and I’m good for the rest of the week.”
Football has been there for Schweickart throughout his life, since he was in second grade. It’s been a constant for him, from his highest of highs to his lowest of lows.
In 2008, Schweickart was on top of the world. As a high school senior, he quarterbacked the Ironton Fighting Tigers to a 7-3 regular season and an appearance in the regional semifinals, earning an All-State Honorable Mention along the way. After accepting an offer to play collegiality at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio, Schweickart was excited to continue playing the sport he loved.
However, he quickly found out that college football wasn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.
“I played for a year at Central State, but it just wasn’t the school for me,” Schweickart said.
Though Schweickart walked away from Central State, he took his love for the game with him. Though he was constantly itching to get back out on the field, he made a promise to himself to get his life on track before he could pick up a ball. After earning an electrician’s degree, Schweickart joined the Warriors in 2013.
Though he was thrilled to be playing football again, Schweickart needed to earn his way back on to the field. In his rookie season, that meant playing a new position: wide receiver.
“Playing wide receiver was a lot different,” Schweickart said. “I just didn’t get a good feel for it.”
Though he struggled to learn his new position, he helped the Warriors reach the NFFL Championship Game in 2013. After the Warriors recruited some new wide receivers in the offseason, coach Jamie Rice decided to give Schweickart a shot at his natural position.
But the job wasn’t solely his. For the first three games of the season, Schweickart split time with fellow Warrior quarterback Justin Lunsford. But as the season progressed, he separated himself thanks to his dual-threat abilities as a passer and a runner.
“I try to go to the arm whenever I can, but if I have to run, I’ll run,” Schweickart said. “I only run if I have too.”
Though his game fits the mold of a Michael Vick or Colin Kaepernick, Schweickart prefers to think of himself as his own player.
“I don’t watch much football at home,” he said. “I just like playing with my friends. It’s just something we’ve always done.”
Thanks to his arm and his leg, Schweickart has amassed over a thousand total yards this season and accounted for 14 rushing and passing touchdowns. However, he is still prone to mistakes, as evidenced by the 10 interceptions he’s thrown this season.
“He struggles seeing the defense sometimes,” Warriors head coach Jamie Rice said. “He’s definitely getting better. Every snap is important for him just because he’s so young.”
Though he’s only been with the Warriors for a year and half, Schweickart has already learned so much about himself and the game of football.
“I’ve learned that you’ve got to take it serious,” he said. “Anyone can beat you on any day, no matter who you have or who your athletes are.”
Alex Hider can be reached at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1931, or on Twitter @PDTSportsWriter