Cade Ballard has won WBIR's Offensive Player of the Week for Week 1 of the high school football season.
The junior quarterback accounted for all of Greeneville's scoring in the team's 35-21 win over Dobyns-Bennett. Ballard's final line: 13-of-16 passing for 201 yards and one passing touchdown and 70 rushing yards for four touchdowns.
"This award, this is not for me," Ballard said. "This is for my coaches, this is for my teammates. They made my job easy on Friday night."
Ballard has started 23 games for the Green Devils in his career. His preparation for the starting quarterback job dates back more than ten years, when he followed his father - now head coach - Caine Ballard. Cade served as a ball boy, worked in the press box, and followed the team on road trips as a child.
"This is my first love, I love it to death, love being out here," Ballard said. "It's a special thing for me."
Ballard said he took away knowledge and leadership skills from the players and coaches who have passed through Greeneville's program, including the 2010 and 2011 state championship teams.
The dual-threat quarterback has played under his head coach and father for three seasons. The freshman and sophomore campaigns presented their own challenges. Now, father and son are enjoying the dynamic a bit more. Cade pointed to the Green Devils' win over Knoxville Central during the postseason of his freshman year as one of many great moments they've shared.
"When things get going, it's fun on Friday nights," Cade Ballard said. "He's going to get on you [Monday through Thursday], and you've got to take that. But when we go home, we do a good job separating what happened during the day with what goes home...It's a cool dynamic."
It's a little more stressful for the head coach to have his son be the signal-caller on offense.
"It's the hardest thing I've ever done," Caine Ballard said. "It's thickened his skin and thickened mine, I can tell you that. It's starting to be fun now, to be able to watch all the [past] struggles. Everything's starting to come together.
"We do well together," Ballard continued. "To say that we're close is probably an understatement. We're probably as close as any father and son out there."
Ballard won more than 45 percent of the vote in Week 1's polling, with a total of 3,750 votes. Ballard beat out Knoxville Central's Dakota Fawver (33.33 percent), Maryville's Isaiah Cobb (11.82 percent), and Northview Academy's Justin Howard (9.16 percent).
Remember, our player of the week polls go up on Saturday evening and end Tuesday at noon.