OXON HILL – Versatility is an asset that football coaches crave, and provides more than enough for the Raiders.
The 5-foot-11, 175-pound senior lined up at quarterback, receiver, cornerback and kicker in the Raiders’ 33-0 win at Oxon Hill on Saturday, and he said the constant position shuffling is something he’s become accustomed to.
“Yeah, ever since Boy’s Club,” Antoine said. “When I get on that field, I do what I can. I’ve been at defense, offense, special teams. I love being on the field. I know coaches look for athletes, and being on the field at all the different positions shows that I’m an athlete.”
Against Oxon Hill, Antoine started at quarterback in place of injured senior starter Shawn Petty and threw for three touchdowns, connecting with senior Darius Winfield twice and senior Tyrone Temony once. He didn’t catch a pass during limited snaps at receiver, but he kicked three extra points and also broke up a pass while tallying three tackles on defense.
“We’ve got a couple of guys [who are versatile] like that,” Roosevelt coach Tom Green said, “but it's big, because that way you know that if you lose your starter, you still can run what you run. He played some for us last year, but just the extra reps were good that he got last year. He’s been in the system for four years, so he knows the checks. And he’s a smart kid, so I expect a lot out of him.”
Antoine – the “B.J.” stands for “Buster, Jr.,” a play off of his father’s nickname – was moved up from the junior varsity towards the end of his sophomore season. Ever since, he’s played a variety of roles for the Raiders (4-0 overall, 3-0 in the Prince George’s County 4A League) who host (1-3, 1-2) on Saturday at 2 p.m.
“He really hit the weight room and put on some weight,” Green said, “’cause as a freshman, he was real light. So as he started getting stronger, we could move him around and it did make a difference.”
As a junior last fall, Antoine saw time at quarterback along with now-graduated Jairus Cook after Petty missed time with a broken collarbone.
With Petty – – back under center, Antoine was prepared to slide back into his backup quarterback role.
“I did,” he said, “but then I knew if coach needed me to play quarterback I would be ready to do it and lead the team.”
Although he said he’d prefer to play cornerback in college – “I just love defense and getting interceptions. It’s exhilarating,” he said – Antoine said he’s open to doing whatever his coaches need him to do.
Antoine hasn’t received any scholarship offers yet, but he said he has received interest from several Division I-AA schools, naming Old Dominion, the University of Pennsylvania and William & Mary as his top three.
“He has excellent grades and he’s a hard worker, so he’s been getting college looks,” Green said. “A lot of Ivy League schools; I believe the University of Pennsylvania, William & Mary. So he’s been getting looks, he just has to continue to play well and get better, and he’ll be fine.”
Green said he’ll make sure Antoine gets work at quarterback in practice this week just in case Petty can’t play against Parkdale. Petty dressed out against Oxon Hill, but was held out to rest his injured foot.
“I’m going to make sure that he’s up to speed on his reps and keep him playing at least a quarter,” Green said of Antoine. “I kind of put him in a bad situation. He made the best of it, but I probably should have given him more reps during the week and in the two weeks prior to that.”