With his 5-foot-10, 140-pound frame, shaggy brown hair and crooked smile, St. Petersburg High School sophomore Austyn Causey looks more like the team's starting kicker than the starting quarterback. Coach Joe Fabrizio calls him "Skinny.'' And sometimes he has to convince classmates that he actually does play on the football team. But do not judge Causey by his appearance. He is off to one of the best starts a St. Petersburg quarterback has had in a long time, throwing seven touchdown passes in four games. That's one more than the school has had in the past two seasons combined. The Green Devils were 4-0 and rolling into Thursday's district game at Palm Harbor University High.
How did you wind up being a quarterback?
"I've played it since I was about 10 or 11. My dad told me to just give it a try and throw the ball. I just stayed at quarterback ever since. I was also a little underweight but it never bothered me."
What is it like being the starting varsity quarterback as a sophomore?
"I had to work up to it. In the first game (versus Gibbs) I was a little nervous, but I knew we had a good game plan. I've gotten used to it."
St. Petersburg isn't really known for its quarterbacks. Did you think you'd just be handing the ball off?
"I know everyone thinks St. Pete is a running team. But it's starting to open up a little bit. We have good wide receivers and running backs who can catch the ball. The defense has to look out for both and it's hard. We run a lot of play-action now."
Rodney Page, Times staff writer