Football: Argo’s Jason Noel shows unmatched football smarts
By Pat Disabato firstname.lastname@example.org October 22, 2013 8:52PM
Jason Noel, of Argo | Gary Middendorf/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 24, 2013 6:32AM
Jason Noel isn’t the most physically imposing player.
The Argo quarterback/defensive back stands an even 6 feet and weighs 175 pounds.
He doesn’t possess blazing speed, though he isn’t slow by any means.
However, when it comes to the top quarterbacks in a talent-rich Southland, few have been more productive than Noel.
“He’s a three-year starter,” Argo coach Jim Innis said. “He can scramble out of situations and complete passes downfield. He can run and has a very good arm.”
Noel is a playmaker. If a particular sequence breaks down, he has the physical and mental abilities to make something out of nothing.
“I’m not the biggest or fastest kid, but I think I have football smarts,” Noel said. “I make the right decisions and get the job done.”
At 6-2, Argo is having its best season in years and Noel is a major reason.
He’s completed 79-of-186 passes for 1,230 yards and 13 touchdowns. On the ground he’s rushed for 164 yards and four scores. He also contributes on defense as cornerback.
“He’s our best defensive back,” Innis said. “He plays man-to-man on the opposing teams best wide receiver.”
Noel has been hobbled by a severe ankle sprain since a Week 5 loss to Evergreen Park. He was limited to a couple of series during an 8-7 win over Eisenhower in Week 8.
He’s confident he’ll be healthy to lead the Argonauts in the playoffs.
“I’ll be ready. We feel we can make some noise in the playoffs,” Noel said. “We’re going to keep working to get better every day.”
This season marks the third time in Argo’s history it’s qualified for the playoffs. The other two, in 2001 and 1998, ended with first-round losses and subsequent 6-4 marks.
A win Friday over Shepard will set the school record for wins in a season with seven. Last season the Argonauts finished 2-7.
“Who thought we could do this?” Noel said. “From 2-7 to, hopefully, 7-2.”
It hasn’t come by accident. Hopes were high once Noel and his fellow players from the Summit Rebels Youth Football Organization arrived on Argo’s campus. The group posted multiple undefeated seasons with the Rebels, and even won a league Super Bowl.
What made the experience especially gratifying for Noel was sharing it with his father, Warren, who also was his coach.
“My dad coached me all the way up through the Rebels,” Noel said. “It was a great experience. It’s something I’d like to share with my kids one day.”
Similar success, however, eluded Noel and his fellow Rebels at Argo. They finished 2-7 three consecutive seasons, including one as freshmen on the sophomore team.
A few players transferred. Noel and a core group that included D’Ken Jones, Diamonte Mallory, Hector Vazquez, Cordel O’Neal and Cosmo Halwix stuck it out.
“We didn’t want to run away from the situation,” Noel said. “We wanted to prove we could be successful.”
Once the season is complete, Noel will shift his attention toward college. While he would prefer to play quarterback, he’ll gladly shift to a position he’s needed.
“I’ll do my best, wherever I play,” he said. “I can’t imagine my life without football.”