Veteran signal caller Jonah Rawlines transfer to Leo Hayes creates QB competition

Jonah Rawlines played quarterback  for the Fredericton Black Kats (FHS) since the seventh grade. Entering his grade eleven year, Rawlines elected to transfer to Fredericton’s other high school, Leo Hayes, where he plans on trying out to be their Varsity QB, a job he would have had at FHS. The transfer requires Rawlines’ family to move from the south end of the city, across the St. John River, to the North end so that Rawlines will be eligible to play as a Lion.

“I thought there was a better opportunity to win a championship with Leo Hayes. Learning a new play book is going to be tough, but hope to learn as much as possible along the way. FHS are always competitive, they were one of the best in the province, and still are. Last year was a rough year,” Rawlines said. “Not sure if  they’re (FHS) happy about it, but they can agree, it’s a good opportunity for me and my future.”

Playing with the Black Kats JV program the past two seasons allowed Rawlines the opportunity to hone his craft. FHS’ Varsity program would have tailored an offence around their new QB, but the Lions 2016 championship run, fuelled offensively  behind an aggressive passing game, lured Rawlines away, in hopes of winning the Provincial title.

Not a stranger to championships, Rawlines led the FHS Kats to the 2016 JV Provincial title, beating the Lions JV team along the way. In the season finale he threw for two touchdowns and carried two in himself.

“The first pass was out from fifteen, and the other was on a seam down the middle that went for about fifty. My first run was a QB sneak from a couple out, the other was on a pass, I dropped into the pocket and saw an opening.” Rawlines trusted his instinct on the read and carried the ball forty yards for the major.

Rawlines with the Fredericton JV Black Kats, 2016 NB champions

At 5-foot-11 and 185-pounds, Rawlines strives to remain a dual threat to defences with the capacity to burn them with his legs and arm.

“I want to get the ball into open space to my team mates so they can make plays. I want to make the right decisions and spread the ball out to where it needs to go, and if nothing is open I can take off and get yards for the team,” he said.

The Lions were entering the 2017 season looking to replace QB Hunter Sturgeon, and had a viable candidate in the teams JV QB Sam Philips. The addition of Rawlines to the roster means a QB competition and the addition of another athlete.

Last season the Lions netted 3000 offensive yards, 1600 of which came through the air. Planning on running more to break in their rookie, the Lions have three of their four WR’s returning, so there will be some passing expectations.

Looking forward to the competition Rawlines is using every opportunity that comes his way in camp to prove to  coaches he is capable of the massive responsibility that comes with being the Lions quarterback.

Rawlines #8, team NB QB U17, scrambling

“If I can make the right decisions and the right throw, I can show the coach I can do what he needs. Being a first year guy it’s important to lead the team as much as possible and so I’m doing as much as I can to get the starting job,” he explained.

Rawlines feels his strong arm and desire to improve his pre snap reads, combined with WR threats LeFleur, Parry and Hamel that the Lions can emerge as viable contenders the second year in a row.

“If I can recognize defenses as soon as possible, I will know spots the ball can go which will make it easier on everyone.”

To achieve this, Rawlines plans on relying on his coaches expertise and film study to become more efficient at his pre snap reads. Already preparing for the opener against the Titans Rawlines commented on the speed and tenacity of the Titans defense. Excited to gauge himself and his team against such high competition, Rawlines is also looking forward to playing his former team during the regular season.

“Week one is going to be tough, their D is fast and talented, but hopefully I can spread the ball around enough to keep them guessing and hopefully come up with a lot of opportunities to score. They’re a top competitor, so it will be good to see where we’re at right out of the gate and continue to progress.”


Jonah Rawlines
5’11, 185lbs

Teams: Fredericton Black Kats, Leo Hayes Lions
Official Visits: none
Un Official Visits: none
Considerations: open
Class: 2018


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