Northeast’s new leader stars in opening-night win

Charles Britt showed what he can do with his arms, legs and head at Friday’s opening game.

Charles Britt ran for a score and threw for another in Northeast’s victory over Abington. JOE MASON / TIMES PHOTO

Physically, Charles Britt has everything to be a great quarterback.

Britt, a senior at Northeast High School, can throw the ball anywhere on the field. He also has the speed to take off and run whenever an opponent gives him a sliver of space.

But there’s more to being a great quarterback, and that’s something the first-year Viking knew he had to improve on before the season.

“The biggest thing I had to do was become more of a vocal leader,” said Britt, who lives near Castor and Cottman avenues. “I’m getting better at it. That’s not what I was best at, but as a senior, I knew I had to do that. I’m getting better, and my teammates are making me better.”

Northeast has high hopes this year and in order for it to make the deep run in the playoffs the entire team is banking on, Britt will have to continue to make strides as a leader.

On Friday, he showed exactly what he can do with his arms, legs and head.

Britt threw for 103 yards and a touchdown to Shaddiq Houston, and rushed for 113 yards and a score to lead Northeast to a 20–0 victory over host Abington on opening night.

The Northeast defense did its job, limiting the Galloping Ghosts to 121 yards of total offense and forcing two turnovers.

The Vikings were also playing without Omar Speights, an Oregon State recruit who transferred to a school in Oregon the day before the season began. But on Friday night, it didn’t seem to matter much.

“We’re really going to miss Omar, and we’ll be cheering for him,” Britt said. “As a leader, I had to let everyone know we’d be OK with him. It’ll be harder, but we still have a great defense. We have some great players.”

Britt was new to the Northeast football team this year after transferring to the school last year from Neumann-Goretti, where he helped the Saints win 11 games. He came to Northeast in March and has been working with his teammates ever since.

“It was nothing but love right away,” said Britt, who started his high school career at George Washington. “They welcomed me right away. I was excited because I knew how good we could be right after I met a lot of the guys.

“Last year, we played them and they were really tough. We won a close (8–7) game, and I knew their defense was really good. I’m glad I don’t have to play them.”

Britt has been working with his teammates since he arrived, including playing with them over the summer in a 7-on-7 league. After opening night, he was happy but far from satisfied.

“We made a lot of mistakes, I made a lot of mistakes, so I know we have to get back to work,” Britt said. “Abington is good, they are all right. We have to be better, though. We need to clean up a lot of the mistakes we made.

“I’m still getting used to playing with the line and the receivers, and they’re working really hard. A lot of them are young, so they’re going to keep getting better every week. The better I play, the better they’ll play.”

The left-handed quarterback found five receivers during the game. His touchdown went to Houston, who also transferred from Neumann-Goretti, so they developed good chemistry last year.

But that doesn’t mean he’s going to lock in on one receiver. The more he spreads the ball around, the tougher it will make things on defenses.

“I know him, but the other guys are doing good, too,” Britt said. “It’s coming. We still have a lot of work to do. I’m not happy where we’re at, but I know we’re going to get better.”

Last year, Britt threw for more than 1,300 yards and 14 touchdowns, according to tedsilary.com, and he also rushed for four scores. He worked hard on his conditioning this year, and it showed. Last year, he rushed for 121 yards. He went for 113 on opening night. But he’s happier being a pocket passer.

“I like throwing better, I’m a quarterback and I have a lot of guys who can make plays,” Britt said. “Tonight, I ran a lot because the offensive line did great. They’re young, but they showed a lot tonight. They really helped me and helped me find room.”

Britt knows there will be tougher days ahead, including this week when the Vikings meet Haverford School. But to get where he wants to be, they’ll have to be ready to knock off top teams.

“Our goal is a state championship,” Britt said. “They won a Public League championship last year. Our goal is to go as far as we can.”

That’s also what he wants to do in his football career. Next year, he wants to play in college, and ideally he’ll keep his position.

“I’m a quarterback,” said Britt, who would like to major in business or marketing. “I’m trying to get better. That means be a better passer, a better runner and a better leader. Being a leader is everything for quarterbacks. I’m really working on getting better at that.”