By Pat Turner
For the sophomore, having that opportunity was a dream come true. After all, being the one running the offense was the ideal situation.
Since taking over that role, the sophomore has created excitement with his passing, running and leadership. While guiding Brandeis (8-2) to the Class 6A Division II playoffs, Battles has thrown for 1,322 yards and 12 touchdowns and run for 1,167 yards and 14 TDs.
He looks to provide more thrills in the post-season, beginning with Friday’s bi-district matchup against Churchill at Gustafson Stadium.
“I was excited,” Battles said. “It’s what I wanted my whole life. I always wanted to be playing under the Friday night lights. I worked hard during the summer with my teammates.
“I love making plays. I love being the leader. When things are going wrong, I like to take charge and help us get it done.”
Battles showed signs of being a quality quarterback as a freshman while working with Brandeis’ JV. He even received a scholarship offer from Louisiana Tech at a satellite camp. As his progress continued in the offseason, Broncos coach David Branscom, a former assistant at Mary Hardin-Baylor, had no doubt Battles was ready to make the next step.
“He has everything,” Branscom said. “He is a competitor.
I envisioned him as one of those leaders I was used to seeing in college. He could lead by example, but also praise players and make them accountable. Jordan has everything. He’s a competitor.
“He’s charismatic. People are attracted to him, that is what makes him so special. He has it. Whatever ‘it’ is, he’s got it.”
Although Battles took the opportunity and ran and passed with it, jumping to varsity football was an adjustment. He got a taste of what to expect during a scrimmage with Judson. Going against the top-ranked team in the area was tough, but the real test came in the season opener with Johnson.
“For about the first quarter I was nervous,” Battles said. “I was young playing against older guys and it was my first start as a sophomore. After I took that first varsity hit it was good from there. The game started slowing down for me.”
Battles has continued to pick up the pace. His coaches have provided daily help in preparing the quarterback for opponents and how to respond in various situations.
“My coaches help me a lot,” Battles said. “They’ve helped me relax and be calm in the pocket. They have helped me to know when to throw and when to run. The main thing is you have to be a leader. When things go bad you have to bring the team together.”
Being surrounded by a strong supporting cast is also an advantage. He feels secure with the offensive line’s protection, along with playmakers like running backs J. Nova Rangel and Brent Malone, and receivers Brandon Pake and Josh Suarez, along with tight end Oscar Cardenas.
“My teammates have been great.” Battles said. “It helps a lot in practice. We have really good competitive practices with our scout team. They do an amazing job of giving us a good look. When we go against our No. 1 defense that helps, because they give us all they can.
“We have good players on offense. They take away a lot of the pressure. Our running game is great. I have receivers who make plays. I have a tight end (Cardenas) who is a man among boys. We communicate really well. We’re a brotherhood at Brandeis. We have created a bond.”
Inspiration has also come from his father Shaun, who enjoyed football success as a running back at Holy Cross and Fresno State.
“My dad has a lot of knowledge about football,” Battles said. “He helps me with the mental part. He knows how defenses play and what to do in certain situations. He encourages me. He’s my best friend.”
Although quarterback is his position, Battles also spent time as a middle linebacker at Hobby Middle School. Being on the defensive side was a different role to say the least, but Battles enjoyed the experience.
He liked the physical demands that came with the position and fared well. Still, it was a matter of time when his defensive duties would come to an end.
However, Battles gained knowledge that helped him in his preparation for quarterback.
“Being a linebacker was good for me,” Battles said. “It was fun. At linebacker you have to know where the quarterback is going to be and read his eyes. I learned how a linebacker and the defense thinks.”
And now, it’s on to the playoffs. The Broncos appear ready for whatever comes their way after battling through a competitive District 28-6A schedule that included last-second losses to Brennan and O’Connor.
The setbacks were tough, the Broncos became stronger. Battles is ready to show that strength.
“We’ve overcome adversity by being a brotherhood,” Battles said. “We’ll be down but we when we get in the huddle, we say we got this. It’s very exciting being in the playoffs. It is winner go home and we don’t expect to go home anytime soon.”