Kryan Irvin was a study of contradictions just a few months ago.
The East Ascension High junior quarterback has a unique hobby. He likes to draw pictures of some of his favorite NFL players based on photographs.
The thing Irvin couldn’t draw on as a player was past varsity experience. But what a difference seven weeks as a starter have made.
“I wasn’t making all the right reads at the beginning, but it’s definitely better now,” Irvin said. “My coaches and my teammates have helped me, by showing me what they see. There’s still a lot of ways I can improve.”
Irvin’s new-found varsity maturity will be on display when the Spartans (4-2, 1-0) host Woodlawn High (4-2, 0-1) for a District 5-5A game set for 7 p.m. Friday at Spartan Stadium.
“He’s a totally different kind of quarterback,” EAHS coach Paul Bourgeois said. “Layne Trahan (last year’s starter) made his living on making good decisions and making sure the ball got where it was supposed to.
“Kyran is bigger, stronger and faster, and we can use him more in the run game. At times, it’s like having another running back in there. Now, he is making good decisions throwing the ball and running the offense. That takes more than one year to do, but he’s already come a long way.”
A look at the latest East Ascension statistics shows just how far Irvin has come in his first year as a varsity starter. He has completed 62 of 113 passes for 918 yards and eight touchdowns with six interceptions. Irvin also leads the Spartans in rushing with 477 yards on 74 carries with seven TDs.
Not bad for a guy who was strictly the junior varsity quarterback for EAHS a year ago. Bourgeois said there wasn’t a sense of urgency for Irvin to lock in on preparation last season. Two seniors played ahead of the 6-foot-1, 205-pounder. Trahan passed for over 2,000 yards and when Trahan and receiver Chad Hill filled the back-up role.
“What’s happened is his football IQ has really gone up since last year,” East Ascension offensive coordinator Keragan McCready said. “Kyran sees things on the field that he didn’t see before.
“Now he can check out of one play and put us in another one that has a better chance to succeed. As he’s been able to do those things, you can see his confidence grow. His teammates have confidence in him.”
Bourgeois said he could see Irvin putting all the pieces of his game together during the Spartans’ jamboree game with St. Amant in late August.
“It was one of those moments where you say, ‘Look at this,’ ” Bourgeois said. “Just about every call he made to change plays were right. That was something we hadn’t seen from Kyran up to that point.”
The Spartans took some early lumps but have won two straight. Irvin passed for 242 yards and two TDs in a win over Patterson and ran for 157 yards and three TDs against Brother Martin.
Irvin, an honor student, runs the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds. He wants to improve his speed, but it’s clear he has already picked up on a few quarterback nuances that go beyond making reads at the line of scrimmage.
“The linemen are the reason why we’re doing well,” Irvin said. “They’re the ones who open the holes and make things possible for us.”
Friday’s game is crucial for both teams. Irvin has enjoyed studying his counterpart, Woodlawn’s Charles Brooks, who has passed for 1,003 yards and rushed for another 481 on film.
“He (Brooks) is good, and they’re a good team,” Irvin said of Brooks. “They’ll test us.”