The 6-foot, 180-pound senior quarterback, will get to continue on that path when the eighth-ranked Hawks visit top-ranked Camden County tonight for the second round of the Class AAAAAA state playoffs.
With 37 touchdowns to his credit, Ironside’s offensive numbers have him in the state’s record books. He is currently eighth in the state for touchdowns in a single season and can become only the seventh player in Georgia history to throw 40 or more in a season with three against the Wildcats tonight.
Ironside has completed 170 of 312 passes thrown, which is a 54.4 completion percent rate, for 2,269 yards, and he has only 11 interceptions on the year.
His father and coach, Phil Ironside, is excited that Elijah is having such a strong season.
“The way he has carried himself and the way he’s played are things I expected from him as a four-year member of the program,” Phil Ironside said. “Did I think, statistically, he would do some of the things he’s done? Probably not.
“Around here, maybe 20 to 22 touchdowns is a bunch. For a kid to throw 37, I can’t believe it. Part of it is, we have good people around him. It all works together. I think he understands that, I think his teammates understand that and that’s the good part about it.”
Elijah Ironside’s go-to-guys include wide receivers Justin Denton (15 TD), Omar Black (11), Richard Hallman (3) and Emmanuel Beal (2) and running back Richardre Bagley (2). The offensive line has blocked well and the running game has contributed.
“They’ve helped a ton,” Phil Ironside said. “They’ve come up through the program with Elijah and plugged away, and he’s improved his game a lot with them. Those guys had the desire to be good and have been a huge part in Elijah’s success. We’re as good up front as we’ve ever been, and that’s a major part of it. And we have a good running game. It all complements each other very well.”
With so many positives surrounding Ironside, the question remains why college coaches have been slow to offer him. So far, Air Force, Lenoir-Rhyne and Mercer have shown interest.
“Probably the level he’ll play at comes a little later,” Ironside said. “But I don’t think that’s what drives him. He just enjoys playing. Hopefully, he’ll get an opportunity to. He’s a strong kid.”
According to his father, Elijah hasn’t performed well in camps, which may have contributed to his lack of college offers.
“Recruiting a quarterback has gotten to be more about camps and being phenomenal at an early age,” Phil Ironside said. “He didn’t play a lot as a junior, and I think that played a part in it. He’s a kid that’s won 20 ballgames and lost three in two years as a starter, and he’s thrown 59 TDs in those two seasons as a starter.
“Quarterbacks are measured by decision-making and wins, and that’s what he does well. Our world has become 7-on-7 and camps, and that’s not really what his forte is. I think that’s hurt him some.
“But if somebody wants smart and steady and a kid that’s controlled, he’ll be a good fit for them.”
With his high school career nearly coming to an end, Elijah Ironside will continue to wait for an opportunity to play collegiately to present itself.
“It doesn’t bother me that I haven’t received a scholarship offer,” he said. “As long as we keep winning, I’m happy. That’s the biggest concern for me.
“I’ll just wait for the spring and hope that they come. I just want the opportunity to get back on the field.”