Athens Academy’s football team has been stacked full of exceptional skill players the last few years. It’s allowed head coach Josh Alexander to ease his young quarterback Palmer Bush into the fire during his freshman and sophomore seasons.
Now, deep into his junior season Bush oozes with confidence in his ability. It doesn’t manifest in a boastful big temperament. Bush has always had a mild-mannered personality.
The confidence sits just below the surface. It shows up on Friday nights. Bush was hammered along the Spartans’ sideline two weeks ago during their win over George Walton Academy. The next play Bush hit a 40-yard touchdown.
Production is Bush’s chest pound. His confidence level and competiveness that comes with it has grown with his time and success on the field.
“I would definitely say there is a competitive aspect to me that I didn’t have last year,” Bush said. “It comes out especially in those region games when you know the guys across from you. You’ve got to show up and play well.”
Bush knows what he’s doing now. In his sophomore season, Bush went out into games worried about messing things up. With state title aspirations in his hands on every snap, Bush didn’t want to be the reason the Spartans didn’t reach their goals.
Another year in the system a few good games earlier in the season and Bush feels differently today. He walks into games hoping to make plays for the Spartans’ offense.
“Last year it was more about not wanting to mess this up and wanting to do what I have to do,” Bush said. “As of now, I want to be a playmaker. I want to make plays and also help the team win by doing that.”
Bush credits the talent around him. Having Notre Dame commit Deion Colzie, senior Kale Anderson, junior Hugh Laughlin and senior Kurt Knisely at the ready to make plays has allowed Bush to grow into a quarterback with aggression while also making the right plays.
“I believe that we have the best skill position players in the region if not state,” Bush said. “It makes it easy. If this guy isn’t open you can make the check to the other, which probably will also be open. Sometimes it can turn into, trying to throw to Deion (Colzie) because he’s the four star commit to Notre Dame. If there is two guys on him, you can look to the other really good wide receivers and you know that they can make plays also. You don’t feel forced to have to throw it to Deion every time. Everyone on the team can make plays.”
Bush made his share of plays on Friday night. His 15-for-18 369 yards, five passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown performance has made Bush this week’s Oconee Physical Therapy & Sports Rehabilitation/Oconee Enterprise Athlete of the Week.