Alex Hughes may be the most unlikely success story in New Jersey high school football this season.
Hughes quarterbacks an undefeated St. Augustine Prep team that averages 44.2 points per game. Hughes, of Absecon, has completed 43-of-67 passes for 652 yards with four touchdown passes and just two interceptions.
But the 5-foot-9, 159-pounder is no quarterback prodigy. This is the senior's first year of high school football. Before this season, his last competitive football experience came in the eighth grade when he played for the Absecon Blue Devils of the Atlantic County Junior Football League.
And even back then, Hughes was no quarterback. He played defensive back.
"It's kind of surprising," Hughes said. "Sometimes I'm like, 'Wow, I'm really doing this.' I'm proud of myself."
St. Augustine (5-0) plays at Buena Regional (3-3) at 7 p.m. today.
In a telephone interview Wednesday night, Hughes spoke about his unusual path to success.
On his St. Augustine sports career before football: My freshman year I played baseball and that was pretty much it. I was a catcher.
On why he decided to play football this season: Last year I wanted to play but it was too late. So I decided my senior year would be my last year and I should play. I went to the games and watched last year and I missed being on the field.
On why he decided to try out for quarterback: I went to the summer workouts, and I decided to be a quarterback. People have been telling me I have a (strong) arm, and I was like, 'I might as well it give it a try.'
On what was the hardest part of his transition back to football:To get in the football mindset and understand the plays and what goes on. You have to know the terminology and what I have to do to prepare myself.
On getting hit and tackled again: The hitting really didn't bother me. I knew it was part of football. I got used to that part real quickly.
On the no-huddle offense: After the first week, the receivers and I started picking up things. After the play is over, the receivers and me look over to the sidelines and pickup the formation and the play. We can move faster than we thought.
On the school's reaction to the team's success: They're happy for us. I'm shocked that I'm still doing this, but I'm getting past that stage. We just need to move on, play each week and get ready for that team.