Osceola senior wide receiver Jariq Scales was quick and to the point when asked to describe his quarterback Kam Turner.
"He's electrifying," Scales said after Osceola's practice Wednesday at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.
Turner, the Seminoles' sophomore quarterback, has shined in his first season as a starter.
Through 14 games, Turner has accounted for 2,472 yards and 38 touchdowns to lead Osceola to the Class 3A state championship game against Booneville on Saturday at noon at War Memorial Stadium.
Osceola is making its first appearance in a state championship game since 1998, and it last won a title in 1997 under Clinton Gore.
The Seminoles are playing for a state championship thanks in part to the play of Turner, who took over for senior Carl Miner as the team's starting quarterback Oct. 19 against Piggott.
He has completed 81 of 149 passes for 1,550 yards with 22 touchdowns and 1 interception. He's rushed for 922 yards and 16 touchdowns on 121 carries.
"He's come in and sparked us," Osceola Coach Robert Hooks said. "He brings a lot of energy. He understands the game.
"He's pretty good."
Hooks told Turner when he became the starting quarterback that he would want to have the mindset of playing well enough to keep the position, even if he is a sophomore. Turner has listened to his coach, who is in his second season at Osceola.
"You never know who's going to come in," Hooks said. "He's done a tremendous job. He hasn't lost his spot."
Osceola won the 3-3A Conference champion Nov. 2 with a 62-45 victory over Newport, in which Turner called his best game. He completed 13 of 26 passes for 213 yards and 5 touchdowns, and rushed for 148 yards and 2 touchdowns on 14 carries against the Greyhounds.
In Osceola's 37-28 victory over Rison in Saturday's Class 3A semifinals, Turner accounted for 400 yards, including 266 passing yards, and 6 touchdowns (4 passing, 2 rushing).
Turner has totaled 1,257 offensive yards and 17 touchdowns in four playoff games.
The Seminoles' success has lifted the spirits of the Mississippi County town, Turner said.
"Everybody is happy," he said. "I go to the gas station and people are shaking my hand and asking me how we're doing. It's just been great."
Osceola faces a Booneville team that has allowed 13.4 points per game this season. Turner understands the Seminoles will have one of their toughest challenges of the season Saturday.
"We have to play body on body," Turner said. "Big on big. It starts up front. We have to finish, offense and defense."
Hooks is proud of his team, but he's also prideful of the Osceola community.
"I can't tell you how much the community has been behind us," Hooks said. "They've really helped rally us and help us coaches along the way. In the summer, we worked out at 5 in the morning. I've had community members help bring kids to practice. That's huge. They're very instrumental in us playing in this state championship game."
Turner, who transferred from nearby Rivercrest in Wilson to Osceola, is ready to help the Seminoles win their first state championship in 21 years.
"I just want to do it," Turner said. "Get it done."
At War Memorial Stadium, Little Rock
Hazen vs. Junction City, 7 p.m.
Booneville vs. Osceola, noon
Arkadelphia vs. Joe T. Robinson, 6:30 p.m.
All game televised on AETN.
Sophomore quarterback Kam Turner has passed for 1,550 yards and 22 touchdowns, while also rushing for 922 yards and 16 scores this season for Osceola heading into Saturday’s Class 3A championship game against Booneville.
Sports on 12/06/2018
Print Headline: Sophomore spark: Osceola QB electric after winning job