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Sports Spotlight: Semndaia’s quick growth has turned him into leader for undefeated Kinston football team

Loss of brother has given new perspective to Kinston’s quarterback
Published: Sep. 7, 2021 at 6:39 PM EDT
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KINSTON, N.C. (WITN) - Kinston football is 3-0 this season. They have been lock down on defense like last year. But, their offense has been led by a junior playing starting quarterback for the first time. We feature Messiah Semndaia in this week’s Pepsi Sports Spotlight.

“Our big question coming into this season was that youth,” says Kinston head football coach Ryan Gieselman, “Graduating 21 guys last year and about 18 of them played for us.”

“With the seniors we had last year I knew that I needed to step up,” says Kinston junior quarterback Messiah Semndaia, “because I knew that we weren’t going to have nobody. So I just had to step up we needed a quarterback.”

Messiah Semndaia’s rise to quarterback in Kinston came after a family move from Richmond, Virginia, where he first learned about the game.

“When I was younger and my dad used to always buy me a lot of footballs and I used to always mess with them,” says Messiah, “I have just loved football ever since.”

Messiah worked hard during the short offseason to get ready to be QB1.

“This summer putting in the time, and the work, all summer long,” says Gieselman, “He does everything he is supposed to. Watching film and asking questions when he needs to to make sure he gets it right. Because he wants to get it right.”

A summer of extra work with his older brother got him ready. Building more than football skills.

“It’s very much a blessing to have a brother like that,” Semndaia says, “I had an older brother who recently passed just have to you know stay humble.”

The junior quarterback and his family still don’t know how his brother passed away.

“No not yet, we don’t know yet. Police still detecting,” Messiah says, “Couple weeks before my birthday. May.”

He has changed his perspective on things. What’s important. It’s helped Messiah become a leader for the Vikings.

“Each week, you know Messiah going out there, and proving himself. At practice every single day the guys have bought in with him leading the charge,” says Gieselman.

“It’s been a lot,” says Messiah, “People always say I could never play Kinston high quarterback. But, I made a difference.”

A difference he hopes to continue to make on the field and with his teammates the rest of this season and next.

“Just got to keep my head in the game,” says Semndaia, “Just got to stay humble. Better things will come.”

Coach says college coaches are already taking note. It will be fun to see how far he goes.

Have a spectacular athlete with a great story to tell? We would love to share it. You can nominate your Pepsi Sports Spotlight candidates to spotlight@WITN.com .

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