Lake Clark still remembers watching some of the first high school football games East Hamilton played after the school opened in 2009.
Little did he know that one day he would be behind center, setting passing records for the Hurricanes.
In fact, the 6-foot-2 junior had the record well in hand at the fourth quarter's 5:02 mark last Friday when he stood tall amongst pressure to throw a perfect pass to Kaunyae Burgans in the back right corner of the end zone.
After his fifth and final touchdown pass of Friday's 44-27 Region 3-4A home win over Central, Clark had 438 passing yards on 25 completions with nearly half a quarter left to play. For that effort, he is the Times Free Press Player of the Week.
"What's crazy is I remember when I was little being at an East Hamilton football game and thinking that the guy throwing the ball kind of looks cool. Ever since that day I have been playing quarterback and that's all I've really every played," Clark said.
Since 2014, only three quarterbacks in the Chattanooga area have passed for more yards in a game. The list includes: Soddy-Daisy's Hunter Maynor (451 vs. McMinn County in 2014), Bradley Central's Cole Copeland (459 vs. Dobyns-Bennett in 2015) and Walker Valley's Kolten Gibson (526 vs. Stone Memorial in 2017).
Clark's shining moment last Friday is a scary sight for the rest of 4A competition.
Not only does East Hamilton (5-1, 3-0 3-4A) have a game changing running back in Juan Bullard, who has over 900 total yards and 14 touchdowns, but Burgans and Jeremiah Flemmons are 6-foot-3 receivers who might make up one of the best tandems in the state.
"Juan has been having a lot of good games, so everybody knew we could run the ball really well," said Clark, who has trained on multiple occasions with recent NFL quarterback Phillip Rivers who he considers an inspiration.
"No one really knew we could pass like this. We have a great receiving corps. Jeremiah can score in so many ways with his speed and toughness after the catch and Kaunyae is a guy who can go up and make a catch over anybody. Our offense just got even tougher to game plan for."
Flemmons and Burgans each set career-highs with 233 and 191 yards receiving in Friday's victory as they combined for 21 grabs. Flemmons had four catches for 40-plus yards, which included one where he collided with a defender and kept his concentration to catch the ball after it was jarred free in the air. Burgans made a habit of burning defenders deep as he scored three times.
Clark also commended the play of freshman guard Andrew Gilbert, whose first start of the season came in a sack-free game against Central.
"Lake has great poise," East Hamilton coach Grant Reynolds said. "He stays calm under pressure and doesn't get too rattled. He works hard every day and is getting better. I think he has a lot of potential. He is hungry and so is this entire team."
Contact Patrick MacCoon at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @PMacCoon.