Palm Beach Central quarterback off to great start

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When Atlantic High School’s Guenson Alexis led the Eagles to a 7-1 record and the Class 7A Tri-County title, many thought his 845 yards passing and 10 scores were eye-popping given the fact that COVID-19 interrupted the football season.

Alexis, who is now at Wagner College, also ran for 146 yards and added eight touchdowns on the ground.

Not the be outdone, Palm Beach Central junior Ahmad Haston is filling the stat sheets that would make fantasy football owners proud. He has thrown for a state-leading, 1,360 yards and 20 touchdowns in leading the Broncos to a 4-0 record. He’s also run four times for 60 yards.

Haston, 16, who lives in Royal Palm Beach, has been at Palm Beach Central since his freshman year. He’s had extra motivation this year after his grandfather died from COVID-19 a couple of days before his spring game against Carol City.

“He loved to watch me play, always telling me how great I would be,” Haston said. “Memories of my grandpa and the love and support of family and friends helped me to be in this position now.

“[His death] played a major role in my mindset coming into this year,” he said. “I always look at old pictures of him at my games. I wear a necklace to honor his life and take it off right before games. It zones me in before games and reminds me of my why.”

Haston said he’s put in the work.

“I’ve worked extremely hard since freshman year manifesting for this type of season,” he said. “I truly expected to be off to this start. My goal this year was to be recognized as one of the top quarterbacks in the state and nation, letting everyone know I am a pass-first quarterback.”

Since he started playing football at age 7, he immediately gravitated to quarterback.

Palm Beach Central junior Ahmad Haston currently leads the state in passing with 1,360 yards and 20 touchdowns.

Palm Beach Central junior Ahmad Haston currently leads the state in passing with 1,360 yards and 20 touchdowns. (Morgan Waters/Courtesy)

“What I love about the game are the bonds I build with my teammates,” Haston said. “I can call them family. It also allows me to forget about all the outside distractions and other things going on in my life. My mind feels free for those two and half hours.”

He’s thrown five, four, five and six touchdowns in the first four games, and has thrown for over 300 yards during that span, including 404 in the most recent game against Royal Palm Beach.

“It’s been a great feeling,” said Haston, whose previous high was three touchdowns last year in a win over Taravella. “It never really feels like I am throwing so many TDs. I am just out there playing ball with my teammates.

“COVID hurt me very badly the previous year,” Haston said. “I was not able to truly show how special I was due to the limited games and a rushed season. I’ve been trying my best to make up for lost time by giving my all each game.”

“Ahmad is a great player but an even better person,” said Palm Beach Central coach Scottie Littles. “He has a 4.0 GPA and is extremely humble. He is our unquestioned leader not just the offense but the team.”

Haston said grades are important to him.

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“Grades are definitely enforced before sports in my household,” he said. “There are a lot of late nights throughout the season. You just have to build that mental strength and get it done. I know it will benefit me in the future.”

Littles said Haston is still getting better.

“Everybody sees the results, but not the work,” he said. “Ahmad is the hardest working kid I have ever coached. What makes him great is, yeah he is talented, but it is how he mentally attacks the game and prepares himself and his teammates.

“He is a big-time QB and will only get better and better,” Littles said. “His start has not surprised me, I get to see his growth and work ethic every day. I am so proud of him because we all knew what he could do. COVID hurt us last year and we are making up for lost time. UVA is the only offer right now, but the calls are coming in.”

Haston isn’t worried about offers right now.

“Winning a state title would mean a lot,” he said. “Me and my teammates have been talking about it since eighth grade. It will be a dream come true, but me and the boys are taking it one game at a time.”

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