Tim Mattingly recently met with a teacher in the Bainbridge-Guilford school district, and that teacher told Mattingly of a special connection she had witnessed between a star football player and another player who looks up to that star player.
“She told me that Justin Pepper had just latched onto this kid who maybe wasn’t the most talented player on the team,” Mattingly said. “(Justin) talks to the kid and has kept the other kid excited about playing football. The teacher told me it was incredible to watch the interaction between those two kids. Justin is a heck of a player and a star on the team in this kid’s eye. He’s just a tremendous teammate and a real leader.”
This little story describes the strong character of the Bobcats’ senior quarterback, and he has matched that character with impressive performances on the football field this season.
He leads all area quarterbacks in rushing and rushing touchdowns, is a capable passer, and is a mainstay on the Bobcats’ defense. After leading B-G to back-to-back division victories, Pepper is this week’s Smith Ford LLC/Evening Sun Athlete of the Week.
“He’s an athlete playing the quarterback position,” Mattingly said.
Pepper, who came up to the varsit level as a lanky sophomore, has grown to 6-foot-2, 205 pounds. He participated in offseason football camps, and he has maintained perfect attendance in the weight room. The extra effort put forth by Pepper is showing on the field this season. “My dad and my brother got me into lifting a couple of years ago,” Pepper said. “I’ve kept working out and mostly do it every day.”..