ASH senior quarterback Kierston Harvey sits down for a conversation with the Americus Times-Recorder

Published 3:19 pm Thursday, May 24, 2018

AMERICUS – When the Americus-Sumter Panthers take the field for their first regular-season game on Friday, August 17 at Crisp County, quarterback Kierston Harvey will be a senior. Lord willing, je will be under center for his final season directing the Panthers’ offense. For Harvey, he has put in years of preparation for this moment. He has prepared himself, and his team, for this moment all of his life.

Kierston Harvey is the son of Robert and Pamela Harvey, and has lived in Americus all of his life. He sat down for a conversation with the Americus Times-Recorder on Wednesday, May 23, after practice. For Harvey, football has been a life-long thing. “I’ve been playing football all my life since I was actually, like, four years old,” Harvey said. “I just fell in love with it. Harvey also likes to play basketball and baseball. He did not play basketball for the Panthers, but was a pitcher on the baseball team.

As far as academics are concerned, Harvey loves Math. “It’s challenging,” Harvey said. “You have to use your mind. That’s what I love about it.”

Harvey looking for an open receiver in the Panthers’ 2017 regular-season finally against Carver.
Photo by Carla Cladd ATR Archive

Growing up playing football, Harvey did not always play quarterback, and the circumstances that led him to the position were quite interesting. “The funny thing is I actually started out playing receiver, but I was a little too slow for receiver, so I had to move to a position where there wasn’t necessarily a need for speed,” Harvey said. “I started playing quarterback when I was six or seven years old.”

Harvey played his middle school ball not in Americus at Sumter County Middle School, but in Ellaville, at Schley County Middle School. That is where he perfected his skills as a middle school player.

Harvey in the pocket looking to throw a pass on the first day of Spring practice under new head coach Larry Harold.
Photo by Ken Gustafson
ATR Archive

For Harvey, there was a defining moment in his life, and it came last year. “I would have to say last season. There was a big turning point in my life,” Harvey said. “The attention that we were receiving due to the level that we were playing at showed that we could do something big in Americus in football, which hadn’t been done in some years, Harvey said. “That’s what really opened my eyes.”

In 2017, Harvey opened the eyes of the people of Americus, Sumter County and surrounding counties with his performance in leading the Panthers to a region championship and to the second round of the GHSA Class AAAA State Playoffs. During his junior season as starting quarterback, Harvey completed 131 passes out of 268 attempts for 2,031 yards and 21 touchdowns.

Kierston Harvey (#12 red jersey) on a running play during first day of Spring practice.
Photo by Ken Gustafson
ATR Archive

Harvey did more than throw the football. He had 38 carries for 124 yards. His total yards gained, including passing and rushing, was 2,155. With Harvey at the controls, the Panthers went 9-3, won the Region 1-AAAA Championship and reached the second round of the playoffs before losing to Thomson 35-34 in overtime.

Harvey’s father Robert Harvey, is a manager at Middle Flint Behavioral Healthcare in Americus. His mother, Pamela Harvey, was a teacher at Terrell County High School, but has since moved on to another job.

Harvey in throwing motion during first day of Spring practice.
Photo by Ken Gustafson
ATR Archive

Harvey has three brothers. The oldest, 26-year old Tavan Harvey, played football at Crisp County. Harvey has another older brother, Britian Wigfall, who is 24, and a younger brother, Kaylon Harvey, who is 12. Harvey says he’s going to try to get young Kaylon into playing football.

According to Harvey, his taste in music genre might surprise some people. “You will probably be surprised when I say this, but I actually listen to a lot of slow music, especially before a football game,” Harvey said. “I can’t get too turned up before a game. I have to be calmed down, soothed and smooth. That’s how I play, so I’ve got to listen to music like that.” Harvey went on to say that he listens to Classic RMB.

Other than winning the region championship last year, Harvey says that his most memorable time when in the first state playoff game. “That was my first ever win in high school at the playoff level,” Harvey said. “That was really exciting for me. We defeated Howard High School.”

Like all great athletes, Harvey could not avoid going through some type of adversity. According to Harvey, the biggest adversity that he had to overcome and handle was becoming the starting quarterback at Americus-Sumter. “I had a lot of responsibility that I wasn’t use to,” Harvey said. “I had to learn really quick how to maintain my responsibilities on and off the field.” As far as his relationship with the backup quarterback, Kenova Willoughby, Harvey says that the relationship between the two is good, and that they work together studying film. As far as what other position Harvey would like to play if he couldn’t play quarterback, his answer might surprise some people. “I’ve always wanted to try kicker,” Harvey said. “I may not be good at it, but I’ve always wanted to try it.”

quarterback Kierston Harvey scrambles during the Panthers’ inter-squad scrimmage on Saturday, May 5.
Photo by Ken Gustafson
ATR Archive

Harvey has made an impact on many of his teammates and coaches. One coach that he’s made an impact on is Assistant Coach Carl Willis. “He has great skills and is a greater leader,” Willis said. “He’s a super young man. He’ll do whatever it takes to be the best. He’s a true ‘Blue Collar Quarterback’. He works very hard every day to sharpen his skills.”

Harvey says that after graduation, he wants to go to college on a full academic and athletic scholarship and would like to major in Sports Medicine. While he could not comment on what schools are recruiting him, Harvey did say that Florida State is his first love.

Harvey loves all of his coaches, but when asked who his favorite coach is, there was no doubt who that is: “Larry Harold, Harvey said. “He sets the standards for me, and gives me a lot of responsibilities. He challenges me every day and makes me better every day. That’s what I can honestly say about Coach Harold. He challenges me and helps me off the field, as well as on the field. He challenges me to be a better man as well as a football player.”