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Dream QB? Chandler Garrett could be another star who comes from Checotah


photo - Chandler Garrett will be participating this week in the Dreammaker Tour finale in Santa Barbara, Calif. PHOTO BY CHRIS LANDSBERGER, THE OKLAHOMAN
Chandler Garrett will be participating this week in the Dreammaker Tour finale in Santa Barbara, Calif. PHOTO BY CHRIS LANDSBERGER, THE OKLAHOMAN

Some parents pay hundreds of dollars for their kids to work with personal trainers and throwing coaches.

The Garretts have a local twentysomething.

The Marinoviches, the Garretts aren't.

Bodie is a modular home salesman while Shecoeta is a stay-at-home mom. They thought it important for one of them to be at home, but with five children and one income, there have been financial sacrifices.

Going to Houston, for example, was something that they thought long and hard about. They'd already paid for the trip to Dallas. The gas. The meals. The hotel. The registration. Even though the tour was covering registration and hotel in Houston, there would still be costs for the family to travel and eat.

"We go to Taco Bell," Shecoeta said, "and it's $60."

Half of that might be for Chandler. He's always been the tallest kid in his class, but he's grown three or four inches since the start of school last fall.

While being a 6-foot-1 sixth grader is the thing most people notice first about Chandler, Jason Donathan knows size isn't the only reason Chandler is turning heads.

"Even more important than that is he is so smart," said Donathan, a former Checotah High assistant who is now the middle school principal and one of Chandler's little league coaches. "Usually, it's in about the eighth grade before you get them really doing like you want."

Carrying out a fake, for example.

"From Day One, I never had to hound him on that," Donathan said. "He would never stop to watch the play. He carried out his steps correctly. All the play-action passes became better for us because he would do those things."

Remember, he's talking about a 13-year-old.

"I've not seen a kid that young with his athleticism that has his maturity and intellectual ability," Donathan said.

"He's truly a complete package."

Chandler showed it at the Dreammaker Tour stop in Houston. Even though he was placed in a group with kids a year older than him, he stood out. His throws were sharper, and his accuracy was better

"Going into Houston, we did not think he was going to be one of the handful that we chose" for the finale, Dubek said. "Without a doubt, he earned that invitation."

Later this week, Chandler will participate in the Dreammaker Tour finale in Santa Barbara, Calif. Less than 150 quarterbacks from around the country have been invited to attend.

The Garretts, who will be driving from Oklahoma to California, thought about doing a fundraiser to offset some costs of the trip, but they decided not to make a big deal out of this. They don't want folks thinking that they're bragging.

They recognize, after all, that Chandler hasn't made it.

He's still the kid who fights with his brothers and sister, forgets to make his bed and leaves his towels on the bathroom floor.

Yet, watch him tossing the ball around with one of his best buddies, and you can see the potential.

The kid could become a star.

"If he continues to grow ... ," Dreammaker's Dubek said, "the sky's the limit for him."


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