• December 19, 2014

Quarterback experience separates area’s winners and losers

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Posted: Sunday, September 23, 2012 4:30 am | Updated: 10:52 am, Mon Jul 28, 2014.

Fourteen.

That’s how much a quarterback is worth this season so far in Central Texas.

Belton, Florence, Gatesville, Killeen and Temple are a combined 14-2 as district play begins.

All five schools have quarterbacks starting for the second straight season. All five quarterbacks had proven themselves.

Harker Heights, Ellison, Salado and Lampasas all entered the season with new quarterbacks.

They are a combined 1-12 this season.

The value of the quarterback position has never been more clear. If a team is going to win at any level, it has to have solid leader under center. Temple (2-1) has Syracuse commit Zach Allen.

Florence (2-1) has Kaleb Hardy.

Friday, Belton senior Peter Shelburne, Gatesville senior Cole Edmiston and Killeen junior Garrett Gaskamp proved it.

Forty-one.

That was the number of unanswered points Belton scored Friday behind Shelburne.

Down 12-0 against Round Rock, Shelburne quickly led the Tigers (3-0) back into contention. First he hit Derick Bates for an 80-yard bomb. Then he found Chase Thornal for a 11-yard touchdown pass. Finally, he capped it off with a 50-yard strike to Brandon Rhoades.

By the end of the first half, he had thrown for 249 yards and — along with the Tiger defense — led Belton to 34 unanswered points.

Edmiston, who had 273 yards passing, did his work throughout the Hornets’ 35-14 win over Taylor.

He started the game with a 85-yard touchdown pass to Colton Williams. He ended the game hitting his last nine passes, including a 30-yard score to Tyler Jaynes as Gatesville (4-0) kept rolling.

Garrett Gaskamp had his worst game of the season throwing the ball in a 42-41 win over Round Rock Stony Point. Although he did hit Eric Jackson for a 36-yard touchdown pass less than two minutes into the game, the junior was only 5-of-16 for 51 yards. But he did damage on the ground. Gaskamp had 12 carries for 100 yards and two touchdowns for the Roos (3-0).

Thirty-three.

That’s the number of points the three teams are averaging per game, and a big reason they are a combined 10-0. All three quarterbacks did what they needed to do — just like they have been doing all season — win.

Not quite nine.

Ellison, Harker Heights and Salado are averaging 8.7 points per game.

And the struggles look dire.

Especially in Salado, where they had to watch last season’s quarterback, Mike Richardson, throw for a state-record 722 yards as he led Marble Falls to a 62-55 win over Boerne Champion. If he hadn’t transferred to play for the Mustangs, the Eagles undoubtedly would be better. But he is gone and Salado is 0-3.

Harker Heights and Ellison, meanwhile, have been rotating quarterbacks without success.

The Knights have only scored 10 points in three games. Both Salado and Ellison have scored 34 points this season — better than Harker Heights, but still only 11.3 points per game.

Ellison quarterbacks Rasheed Dashiell and Trent Jones have thrown five interceptions. Harker Heights quarterbacks Troy Smith and Damion May have thrown nine interceptions.

Both teams are having pains as they grow with their inexperienced quarterbacks.

Lampasas (1-3) also has a first-year starter in Kleg Kennedy and has averaged only 16.3 points per game and thrown for 146 yards this season. That passing total is not usually a problem for the Badgers, who traditionally run the ball 50 times a game.

However, the losses by these four teams cannot all be pinned on quarterback play.

A team cannot solely depend on one position. Defenses must step up, running backs have to hit holes, offensive linemen have to hold their blocks.

At the end of the season there is only one number that matters — the amount of wins it takes a team to make the playoffs.

And it takes a good quarterback to make those wins happen.

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