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Stepinac-The QB's

Posted Friday, September 09, 2011 by lohud.com
 

High school football preview: Crusaders, Gaels have QB options

 

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From left, Stepinac quarterbacks Danny Hoffer and Mark White will split time at the position this year. Both juniors worked out together during a passing drill Sept. 2 at their temporary practice field at John A. Passidomo Veterans Park in West Harrison. Matthew Brown/The Journal News
 
From left, Stepinac quarterbacks Danny Hoffer and Mark White will split time at the position this year. Both juniors worked out together during a passing drill Sept. 2 at their temporary practice field at John A. Passidomo Veterans Park in West Harrison. Matthew Brown/The Journal News
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Conventional wisdom tells us that when it comes to the glorified position of quarterback, only one man can step in and assume that leadership role.

But what happens when a coach decides to fill that role with more than one player? Is it a detriment to the team, or are there underlying benefits to allowing more than one player to shoulder the load?

These are questions the Iona Prep and Stepinac football coaches have been asking themselves, and it seems they are willing to give the unconventional a try.

"Both of our quarterbacks will play," Stepinac coach Mike O'Donnell said of juniors Danny Hoffer and Mark White. "Neither will be named starter. They will split time and possibly play defense as well."

O'Donnell has the tall task of replacing reigning Journal News Westchester/Putnam player of the year Tyrell Goodman, who led the Crusaders to the first 12-0 season in program history. O'Donnell has decided to fill that void with two players who have different skill sets.

"Both Mark and Danny are very good athletes, and have both worked unbelievably hard in the offseason," O'Donnell said. "Mark is faster and has great quickness, whereas Danny is bigger and has a stronger arm. They both have the ability to be very good."

Hoffer was the starter last season on Stepinac's junior varsity, which won a CHSFL championship. White was Goodman's backup. While Hoffer is viewed as more of a pure passer and White is considered the stronger runner, there seems to be little concern about letting the defense know what's coming when they switch in and out of a game.

"They'll never know what's going to happen, because we can both run and pass the ball," Hoffer said.

Iona Prep, meanwhile, has named junior Mario Biaggi the starter, with senior Justin Combs the backup.

"It's really close, but Justin starts on defense and he's playing extremely well for us at cornerback," Gaels coach Vic Quirolo said. "Mario isn't starting on 'D,' so what's best for the team at this point is for Mario to be the starter."

Biaggi was the starter last season for Iona Prep's JV team. Combs has been receiving looks to play cornerback from major-college programs.

"We're definitely going to bring Justin in at times and see how the game progresses," Quirolo said. "If Mario is having an outstanding game and everything is clicking, we'll probably keep him in the game. But if we need a spark, we may go with Justin."

Being unsure from play to play whether they're going to be yanked from the game might put extra pressure on these quarterbacks, but it could also raise their level of play.

"I think you definitely have to have a competition for any position," Biaggi said. "Competing against Justin has made me a better player."

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