MAYO — He isn’t the biggest. He isn’t the fastest.
But that hasn’t mattered to Jaxson Beach.
Rather the Lafayette High quarterback has instead focused on being the best.
“I don’t think size or any of that has anything to do with how you play,” said Beach, who was named the All-Suwannee Valley Offensive Player of the Year for the second straight year. “I know people look for size and they look for speed, especially in the quarterbacks. But that doesn’t have anything to do with how I play.”
He plays as a dual-threat that does a little bit of everything in the Hornets’ spread attack. He completed 172 of 269 passes this season for 2,416 yards with 26 touchdowns to just three interceptions. He also led Lafayette with 1,332 yards and 23 touchdowns rushing on 177 carries.
That ability makes Beach a nightmare to try and prepare for.
“If I had to say one thing about him is that there isn’t a definitive weakness in his game. He has ways to beat you if you take one aspect of his game away,” Branford coach Tim Clark said. “He can throw the long ball pretty well if you play aggressive up front and if you take the long ball away, he’s going to dink and dime you to death. If you take both away, he’s going to beat you with his feet.
“He’s definitely a five-tool player.”
Beach showed all of his tools against the Bucs and most everybody else on the Hornets’ schedule.
In leading Lafayette High to a 9-2 mark, Beach also put on a full-scale assault on the Hornets’ record book, rewriting the career categories for a program that has produced seven first-team All-State quarterbacks dating back to Kerwin Bell in the early 1980s.
As a senior, Beach surpassed Chad Hempstead, Jared Moseley and Brycen Lee to reach the top of the school’s career passing mark, finishing just shy of 7,000 yards passing (6,995). He also holds the program record for most passing touchdowns in a career with 84 and career rushing touchdowns with 51.
They were humbling accomplishments for a player that grew up around the program with his father, Mark, an assistant on several occasions before taking over as head coach this season.
“Those are some of the guys my dad coached and I was there, I always looked up to them and I always wanted to be that one day,” Beach said, mentioning Hempstead and Nick Bracewell. “I think it’s pretty amazing that I’m one of, I feel like I’m one of the best to play there and that I followed in their steps pretty well.
“I was a little kid running around with those guys and always playing around and never did I think I would be doing what they were doing and better in some cases.
“It’s a special program. I know we’ve lived in a couple different places, but all our family is from Mayo, so it was pretty special to represent that team, represent that community and being able to do what I’ve done with my career.”
What Jaxson Beach has done has astonished even Mark Beach, who was calling the plays throughout his son’s career.
“I had never really looked at that in-depth, all the records, oh gosh,” Mark Beach said about looking at the school record book after the season was over. “I was almost embarrassed. You’re sitting there going, ‘What?!?’ I don’t even know. it just turned into something special.”
Special is a good way to describe Jaxson Beach.
Again, at 5-feet-10 and 180 pounds, Beach didn’t just bludgeon smaller opponents. With a 4.7 second time in the 40 yard dash, Beach wasn’t blazing past foes either.
He instead willed himself and the Hornets to big numbers through sheer competitiveness.
“He’s special,” Mark Beach said. “He’s got that. I think he probably got that from me. I always instilled the romantic side of sports, I’ve always handed him those pretty pictures, even though they may have been fabricated at times.
“But I think he’s kind of taken that to heart. He’s always played with a warrior’s spirit. And I’ve told him that the people that saw him play will always talk about that. They’ll always look at what he did and not that he’s 5-10 1/2.”
Clark definitely won’t remember that Beach was only 5-10 or 5-11. He’ll instead remember Beach taking over in the second half, leading the Hornets to a comeback win.
It’s something he also did against Chiefland and even Dixie County, too.
“He finds a way to do that,” Clark said. “That’s the sign of a great player, that’s the mental side of it. There’s a lot of people quick and fast and tough and strong, but when everything is against you and you have to put the whole team on your back and go get the job done, that’s what he’s got. You can’t coach that, you can’t teach that, it’s innate. For certain, he’s got it. He’s got that it factor as far as that’s concerned.
“He’s just a great player.”