Wide open QB races around Washington County
For most successful football teams, everything starts with the guy under center.
Even for predominately run-oriented offenses, having a guy in the huddle calling plays and directing traffic is key.
So what do some of the local high school quarterback situations look like?
For some schools, like Fort Frye and Warren, somebody new will have to step in to replace productive signal-callers. Others, like Marietta and Waterford, have experience returning at the quarterback position but how that will translate onto the field remains to be seen.
MARIETTA: The Tigers graduated Anthony Kimbrough, but junior John Henry and sophomore Trent Dawson are both expected back. All three took center snaps in 2013, without a whole lot of success. Henry and Dawson, though, are continuing to develop.
Marietta has changed head coaches, but hired a familiar face in Jason Schob, who was the team’s offensive coordinator last season. That continuity should benefit the two young QBs. Also, Schob plans to focus on the running game this fall out of the Wing-T offense, which should take a little pressure off whoever is under center.
Former Warren quarterback Dylan Leffingwell has been working and doing drills with Marietta’s quarterbacks over the summer. Being able to pick the brains of Leffingwell and Schob, a former college QB himself, is a definite advantage for the orange and black signal-callers.
Henry earned spurts of playing time at quarterback each of the past two seasons, showing flashes of potential throwing and running. Dawson got some starting experience under his belt last year as a frosh. It will be an interesting position battle to follow throughout the offseason.
WARREN: First-year Warren head coach Anthony Fish has the task of trying to find the next Warren QB.
The Warriors have enjoyed stability at the quarterback position over the last four years or so. Leffingwell was a three-year starter and a record-setting passer for Warren beginning in 2010. He was succeeded last fall by Austin Klintworth, who was an all-district performer himself.
Klintworth threw for 1,360 yards and 14 touchdowns as a senior for Warren last season and also ran for 517 yards. That’s a lot of production that will be missed this fall.
Potential candidates to take over the spot this season are senior Andrew Henthorn and sophomore Bryce Gandee. Both were listed as quarterbacks on the roster last year. Should they both return, they would likely be the front-runners to compete for the starting job.
FORT FRYE: The Cadets are also in the market for a new quarterback.
Gone is Chandler Lang, a true dual-threat player and All-Ohio honoree. Lang led Fort Frye to back-to-back postseason berths each of the past two seasons. He also had a knack for lighting up the stat sheet, throwing for 1,107 yards and rushing for 1,108 while totaling 34 touchdowns.
Lang made the Cadets go.
Now head coach Eric Huck has to find someone else to play under center. He may have to look no further than his younger brother, Terren.
Terren Huck is no stranger to the quarterback position. While he was primarily a receiver on offense last season, the Cadets did run sets where Lang lined up in the backfield with Huck under center. However, he mostly just handed off from those formations and is somewhat of an unknown commodity passing-wise.
The Cadets have been grooming Huck the last two seasons. As Lang’s backup, he got to sit back and learn from one of the best. Now this season could be his chance to show what he’s got.
WATERFORD: Due to circumstances, Isaac Huffman was sort of thrown into the fire last season for Waterford.
After an injury to projected starting QB Joe Pugh shortly before the season, Wildcats’ head coach Tom Tucker turned to the freshman Huffman to take the team’s center snaps.
It was a learning experience for Huffman, who completed 45-of-119 pass attempts for 547 yards. While the Wildcats struggled to a 2-8 season, Tucker saw enough to believe he found the quarterback of the future for the green and white.
Huffman is expected to slide right back under center as a sophomore this season, while Pugh, after missing all of last season, is getting healthy and should provide depth at the position.
FRONTIER: After seeing minimal time on varsity as a sophomore, Mitch Reynolds was handed the reigns at quarterback as a junior for Frontier last season.
Reynolds enjoyed some success, too, throwing for over 1,000 yards and six touchdowns for the 4-6 Cougars. His high-point of last season came in a 53-0 win over Bridgeport, when he threw for 180 yards and two touchdowns.
Now as a senior, with most of his top receiving targets expected back, Reynolds could be due for even more success. Head coach Todd Bradford and the Frontier faithful certainly hope so.
BELPRE: Without a doubt the most experienced returning quarterback in the county is Belpre’s Tavian Miller.
Miller, who is entering his junior year, already has two years as a starter under his belt. The Golden Eagles went a combined 9-11 the last two seasons in Miller’s freshman and sophomore campaigns and seem primed for a breakout year. Whether or not that happens will all depend on the right arm of Miller.
While senior runningback Manney Tullius figures to get the bulk of the touches on offense, Belpre will need Miller to be productive when called upon in passing situations.
Last year, Miller completed 53-of-119 pass attempts for 675 yards and seven touchdowns. He also ran for 235 yards.
The offense will no doubt go through Tullius and he’ll likely get his yards, but when teams start to load up against the run and stack the box, that’s when head coach Greg Adams will count on Miller to use his arm. A balanced attack would go a long way towards the Golden Eagles competing for a TVC-Hocking crown.
Jordan Holland is a sports writer for The Marietta Times. He can be reached at 740-376-5449 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.