Phillip Anderson is so excited about the upcoming football season at Thomson High School that he can hardly stand it.
The 16-year-old Anderson's dream of someday becoming the starting quarterback for the Bulldogs is now a reality.
And he's ready to prove himself worthy of such a leadership role.
Anderson, an A-B student and the son of Billy and Carmen Anderson, of Thomson, wants more than anything to show that he can become a fine leader and quarterback.
"It's exciting to be the new starting quarterback," said Anderson, who stands 6-4 and weighs 195 pounds. "I'm looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead for me and my teammates. I can't wait to see how well we're going to perform."
This Friday night, Anderson and other members of the squad will get such a chance when the team battles the Lincoln County Red Devils in the annual scrimmage game. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m. in Lincolnton.
"We've finally come together as a team," said Anderson. "That's going to be the key to our success this season. We must play as a team. That's very important. It's like we're all brothers out there. It's a great feeling. We're playing like each of us has someone's back."
Anderson also is looking forward to working with a much improved offensive line.
"Our offensive line has really improved a lot since last year," said Anderson. "I think we're really going to be able to run and throw the ball with their good blocking. Our offensive line has learned to stay low and is quicker than they've been in the past."
One of Anderson's big attributes is his ability to throw the football.
"He's very accurate," said Thomson Offensive Coordinator Bobby Thomas. "He can throw short routes and he can go long."
Anderson is a double-threat. He not only can throw the ball with a quick release, but he can run with it, too.
In terms of leadership, Anderson has matured a lot since last season.
"I'm still learning the importance of being a leader," said Anderson, noting that he's committed to becoming an even better leader as the season progresses. "I want to be the best I can be."
One of the ways he's attempting to do such is by building his confidence level.
Example: He already is confident enough to say the Bulldogs will win several games this season -- enough to get them back into the state playoffs as was the case last year.
"I want to do everything I can do to help my team win games," said Anderson. "It's a lot of fun when you win."
As one of the team leaders, Anderson said he has been working to "pump up" teammates when they get a little down on themselves. "It makes me feel good to know that I can encourage my teammates."
After graduation, Anderson, who also is a standout pitcher on the baseball team, hopes to play both football and baseball at the University of Florida. If he came down to playing just one sport, he said he'd rather play college football.
"It's always been my dream to play college football," said Anderson. "I love football."