Birmingham Quarterback Kingston Tisdell Strives for Perfection in Passing the Ball, Says Sondheimer

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Through 14 high school football games this season, junior quarterback Kingston Tisdell of Birmingham High has thrown 190 passes without an interception. That’s unheard of, whether it’s Fantasy Football, Madden NFL or Pee Wee Football.

“Nobody has zero interceptions,” coach Jim Rose said. “It’s a little lucky but an amazing stat.”

Chris Rix, the former Florida State quarterback and a local sports commentator, said, “I don’t know if that’s been done before.”

Quarterback coaching guru Steve Clarkson said, “In my lifetime, I can’t recall a quarterback pulling this off. Truly an amazing accomplishment.”

It’s one thing to accomplish the feat throwing three times a game. But Tisdell had 28 attempts in the CIF Division 3-AA regional playoff game last week against Del Notre, throwing for 225 yards and four touchdowns, completing the game-winning 52-yard touchdown pass on the game’s final play off a tipped pass.

“He makes good decisions most of the time,” Rose said. “A tipped ball here or there, a receiver dropping the ball into someone’s hands, that happens all the time.”

Tisdell, who is 6 feet 1 and 180 pounds, is just 16 years old.

“It’s really about in practice trying to be as perfect as you can, making sure you have all the reads, making sure you’re with the coaches on the same page, making split-second decisions,” Tisdell said. “Practice like you play.”

Tisdell’s ability to play mistake-free football makes himself invaluable at the quarterback position.

“I would attest it to three things, play calling, protection and the quarterback not forcing it,” Rix said.

Tisdell is impressive under pressure. He doesn’t panic and has learned to pick up secondary targets in his progressions, something critical for those who want to keep playing at a higher level.

“He plays really like a senior now,” Rose said. “He’s improving and still growing, which should really help him getting an opportunity.”

Tisdell works repeatedly with his receivers on communication, understanding plays, and reading man and zone coverages.

His biggest challenge comes when a play collapses and he has to improvise. That’s when mistakes happen if a quarterback attempts to do too much.

“If there’s nothing there, especially not on third or fourth down, there’s no reason to force it,” he said.

But a quarterback not willing to take risks means rewards can be left on the table. That’s why judgment is so important. Tisdell has performed the balancing act with extraordinary competence.

He did take the risk last week on the game’s final play, throwing the ball over the middle toward receiver Peyton Waters, who had three Del Norte defensive backs surrounding him.

It was desperation time.

“Sometimes you have to get out of the comfort zone,” he said. ”When the game is on the line, throw it up to Waters and see what happens.”

Waters got his hands on the ball, which deflected toward teammate Devyn Jackson, who caught it as he raced to the end zone to keep the Patriots’ season alive.

There’s one game left on Tisdell’s 2023 schedule, the CIF state championship Division 3-AA bowl game on Saturday morning against Acalanes at Saddleback College.

If Tisdell makes it through the game with no interceptions, he needs to blow up a copy of his statistics and have it framed. Having a ZERO in the interception category would be an incredible achievement at any level of football.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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