No time remained on the clock, but there was still one final play left.

With only three yards separating them from a victory, the Gainesville Red Elephants decided to go for two. After all, their quarterback had just driven his team 66 yards down the field in under a minute left to cut Peach County’s lead to 13-12. The momentum was on their side.

But the fairytale ending was not meant to be. Not on that day for the Red Elephants or their quarterback, who saw his pass on the two-point try batted down before it could reach its intended receiver.

It was the Georgia High School Association Class AAA state championship game inside the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. The Red Elephants quarterback, a four-star prospect named Blake Sims, had just competed in the final game of his high school career. That chapter of his story was closed.

Almost five years later, that is still the last memorable on-field moment for Sims as a quarterback, or any position for that matter. But now, as a fifth-year senior, Sims has one final chance to change that.

Entering Saturday’s season opener against West Virginia, Sims is one of two leading candidates in position to replace AJ McCarron as Alabama’s new starting quarterback in 2014, and the path to get there was anything but straightforward.

Sims came to The University of Alabama listed as an “athlete” capable of playing numerous positions. When he first arrived in 2010, he was a safety, then a running back by the next year, before switching back to his high school position of quarterback in 2012 where he has been ever since.

Regardless of his talent and versatility, though, he has never truly had a chance to start until this year – his last for the Crimson Tide.

At running back, he sat behind more established players like Trent Richardson and Eddie Lacy, and for two years behind McCarron as his backup quarterback. And while other players may have not, still, Sims remained patient.

“I think he always trusted in the coaching staff, but I always think he wanted to play,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “Blake's a really, really good athlete. We never tried to make him play other things. We tried to create a role for him somewhere on the team because we always thought he was one of the better athletes on the team. So if he wasn't going to be the first or second quarterback, could he contribute to the team in another way? … Quarterback is a unique position but because Blake is such a good athlete, he was willing to do whatever it takes to help the team.”

So when Alabama takes the field against the Mountaineers this afternoon at the Georgia Dome – the site of his final high school game and last start – chances are it will be Sims who takes the first snap under center.

Since McCarron’s departure at the end of last season, Sims has been one of two players in serious contention for the starting job this year – the other being Jacob Coker, a junior transfer from Florida State who didn’t officially join the Crimson Tide until late this summer.

And while Coker has received most of the quarterback hype this offseason, Sims stayed in his own lane, never once succumbing to the pressure of the seemingly increasing odds against him by voicing any potential displeasures he had about the situation.

Instead, he has competed, remaining hand-in-hand with Coker – a Mobile native who nearly beat out reigning Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston as FSU’s starting quarterback last year – throughout the battle for the job this offseason.

“If you look at Blake's five-year career here, he's played every position we've ever asked him to play,” Saban said. “He's done whatever you need if you ask him to do it for the team, he's very well-liked by all the players on the team, he's a very good guy to lead. And it's really not always about him. He really does a lot to serve other people and help other people. He sets a good example in how he works. I think he's always put the team first. I think he's certainly done that in this competition. I'm very pleased with the way he's managed this.”

But even if the decision is made in favor of Coker, don’t think that will change the way Sims carries himself. His teammates are well aware of his character.

“He's a perfect teammate,” said senior safety Nick Perry, who is also a fifth-year senior. “He'll do anything to help the team out, help the team win. He did everything that Coach Saban asked him to do. If he asked him to return punts, Blake would have done it.”

Said senior tight end Brian Vogler, “Watching him interact with the other guys, there’s not a guy on the team he doesn’t get along with. And he goes out of his way to make sure he knows people and when you can see somebody’s having a bad day, he’s that guy who’s there to pick him up.”

In April, Sims was asked about what it means to be able to compete to be Alabama’s starting quarterback. It only took him 12 words before deflecting the attention off himself and onto the greater good of the team.

“It's a once in a lifetime opportunity,” he said. “I'm having fun out there. Everybody's smiling. Everybody's having fun. Just trying to do what we've got to do to be the best.”

Starting or not, this story may still have a happy ending.

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