Prep football highlights: Naples' Kilton Anderson
Eagles dual-threat quarterback
Kilton Anderson has lived all over the country. The Naples High junior called seven cities home, from Colorado to Arkansas, before settling in Southwest Florida four years ago.
Anderson has been on the move with a father who’s a higher-up at an international company. His mother calls him a gypsy. But that doesn’t make the next move any easier.
The Golden Eagles took the field for the first time since losing in the state semifinals Wednesday without their highly-touted quarterback. Anderson, an all-state selection who accounted for 45 touchdowns last season, has left the team. His family likely is moving to Seattle later this month.
“I knew there was a chance (of moving), but I didn’t think it would actually happen,” said the 6-foot-3, 200-pound passer. “I’m shocked.
“This team has done so much for me. There’s a brotherhood at Naples High that’s inseparable. The fact that I have to leave that, it’s almost heartbreaking.”
Anderson’s dad, Eric, learned he could be relocated for his job several weeks ago and informed Naples coach Bill Kramer of the possibility.
Eric Anderson is a vice president for security guard company that is headquartered in Europe. He wished not to include the name of his company in this article. Kilton Anderson said he learned the move was imminent Tuesday, and the Andersons told Kramer on Wednesday afternoon shortly before the first spring practice.
“I’ve moved around quite a lot,” said Anderson, who turns 18 on Thursday. “When it came up, I didn’t think much about it because I’m used to it. It’s tough your senior year to have to move to a new place.”
The move isn’t a done deal. Eric Anderson said he’s 95 percent sure that his family will relocate, but that he’s trying to work out an arrangement with his company to stay in Naples. Kilton Anderson is the youngest of four children to Eric and T.L. Anderson, and the three older siblings are out of the house.
Expectations soared this spring for Anderson, who was bursting with potential following a stellar junior year. He quit the baseball team to concentrate on football. The .333 hitter instead attended football camps at Miami, Florida State, Georgia Tech and defending national champion Alabama.
Anderson recently received his first Division I scholarship offer, from South Alabama, and has received interest from BCS schools.
In his sophomore season, Anderson grabbed the area’s attention by leading Naples to two playoff victories as an injury fill-in. Last fall as the full-time starter he threw for 1,288 yards and 17 touchdowns, and ran for 952 yards and 28 scores. The Eagles went 12-1 and won a regional championship.
Knowing he could spend his final prep season in the Northwest, Anderson attended a camp run by former University of Washington quarterback Taylor Barton near Seattle this past weekend. He earned MVP honors at the event.
“We hate to lose him,” Kramer said. “It’s a very difficult thing for him, and very difficult for me personally.
“For me this has never happened before — your starting quarterback who’s all-everything leaves on the first day of spring football.”
Naples plays its spring game May 23 at Cape Coral-Baker. At practice Wednesday, rising junior Luke Reed and rising sophomore Kieran DiGiorno rotated at quarterback. Reed played junior varsity last season, and DiGiorno was on the freshman team.
Rising junior Garrett Zech was the only other player to attempt a pass for Naples last season. Zech was 1-for-4 passing and rushed 19 times for 118 yards in six games. This spring, Zech is with the Golden Eagles baseball team, which plays tonight in the regional quarterfinals.
“We don’t really have time to feel sorry for ourselves,” Kramer said Wednesday at practice. “We’ve got to go. We’re got a game in three weeks. We’ve got to get ready to play.
“The good news is we have a bunch of really good players. Our work ethic and our effort has been tremendous in the offseason, so we should be pretty good.”
Anderson spent most of his childhood bouncing around the country for his dad’s job. He was born in Colorado, lived in Texas and briefly Kentucky before settling in Little Rock, Ark., for nine years.
After Eric Anderson switched companies in 2005, he was given the freedom to choose where he wanted to live as long as he was near a major airport. T.L. Anderson’s interest in Southwest Florida was piqued after reading the series of novels by Randy Wayne White, whose protagonist Doc Ford lived in the area.
The Andersons took a trip to Naples in 2007 and fell in love. They briefly considered sending their sons Kilton and Keggan, who played for the Golden Eagles in 2009 and 2010, to Barron Collier before settling on Naples High.
“This is by far the toughest move,” Kilton Anderson said. “It’s like leaving family.”
Anderson led the Naples freshman team to an undefeated season. The JV team also went unbeaten with Anderson under center in the fall of 2011.
Later that season, having never started a varsity game, Anderson stepped in when starting quarterback Billy Crook suffered an ankle injury in the first round of the playoffs. Anderson ran for 117 yards and two touchdowns to help Naples finish off a first-round victory over South Fort Myers. He got his first start the next week and ran for three touchdowns in a 41-0 trouncing of Fort Myers.
Anderson said his teammates have become like brothers to him, especially best friend and Eagles linebacker Brian Donnelly. While he still hopes to earn a Division I college scholarship in Seattle, Anderson is sad to leave Naples High.
“I wish my team the best of luck,” Anderson said. “I know they’re going to go far. They all have to bond together and become a brotherhood like we were last year. Once they do that, they’ll be a state championship team. I love all those guys. I’ll miss them, but I look forward to seeing them in the future.”