Quarterback play is always important, and it will be the most talked about aspect of Friday’s game and will assuredly help decide who reclaims the shillelagh. Let’s take a deeper look at the guys lining up under center on Friday night.
St. Xavier Depth Chart
– #14 Noah Houk- 6’4”| 190 lbs.| Senior
– #8 A.J. Breit- 6’0”| 172 lbs.| Junior
-#13 Corey Chitwood- 5’10”| 170 lbs.| Junior
St. Xavier Overview
Noah Houk has been waiting for this moment for a very long time. Being the starting quarterback for St. X High School and leading them against Trinity on Friday night has been one of his goals since he was balling at St. Margaret Mary as a kid. Houk wants to follow in his dad’s footsteps and lead the Tigers to victory on Friday night in an attempt to break the current seven-game losing streak to the Rocks. And let me tell you, he is more than capable of doing so. Even though the stats might not show it right now, Noah is an elite passer. He can put the ball exactly where he wants to, when he wants to. Flashback to last year during this time, and Houk was resurrecting the offense against Central and then receiving monumental reps against Trinity as he replaced BJ Nagle. If any further proof is necessary that he can be “the man” for the Tigers against Trinity, click here to learn about how he was the last St. X quarterback to defeat the Rocks. Houk is confident, Houk is ready and Houk is the man.
In order for St. X to pull out a victory, Noah explained that ball security has to be the number one priority.
“We cannot have any turnovers. Turnovers have been the only thing that has stopped us this year.”
He went on to add that tomorrow night may be ‘The Game,” but that’s not going to cause him to change his mental preparation.
“Mentally I’m treating it like a normal game. I’ve been watching a lot of film and working hard in practice this week, but as far as my routine goes, I’m not changing anything,” he said.
Don’t worry, Tiger Nation, Noah’s got everything under control.
Trinity Depth Chart
– #16 Ryan Young- 6’0”| 181 lbs.| Senior
– #15 Larry Harper III- 5’9”| 163 lbs.| Sophomore
The Rocks have alternated back and forth between Harper and Young throughout the first half of the season and found success with both. Young started off the season with 235 yards passing through two games but failed to find the end zone and instead threw interceptions in two early season losses. Harper got the start in the next game against Imhotep (PA) and threw for 59 yards on 7-11 passing. The next game he went 15-25 for 245 yards but threw two interceptions. Young returned the next week and threw for a touchdown in a win over Cocoa (FL). Last week, Young put on a clinic against annual Indiana powerhouse Cathedral High. He threw for 323 yards and four touchdowns while only misfiring on one pass (27-28). Young will be the starter for Trinity tomorrow night and says he is confident entering into the game.
“I’m pretty confident. I just need to treat it like I would any other game,” Young said.
Young’s key to victory: “Establishing a solid running game to set up our passing game.”
Young knows how to lead a football team and has already proven that he can bounce back and handle adversity well.
The young but ultra-talented Harper cannot be overlooked here, though. Although his size suggests that he might have problems playing around much bigger guys, he has already proven this season he can play and play well against tough varsity competition. He is a very mobile quarterback with deceptive agility. In the JV game on Monday, he repeatedly displayed his elusiveness, as he juked, spun, and hesitated his way out of several dropbacks that would have been sacks for most other quarterbacks. Even when a lineman has a clear shot at him, he is extremely tough to actually bring down.
If Young cannot go for any reason at any point during the game, the Shamrocks don’t really have any drop off in talent and ability from starting quarterback to backup quarterback, a luxury that St. X simply does not have.
EDGE: There is no definitive option between Young and Houk as to who the better quarterback is. You can’t go wrong with either one. Whichever quarterback’s offensive weapons show up more will determine the winner of this QB battle. As Houk said, turnovers will also be a huge factor. I think it will all depend on which quarterback can lead his offense to success early and put points on the board. Three and outs will do no good in this game and whoever can avoid those more will likely be more effective. In a close battle that could go either way, I’m siding with Houk and predicting a big performance from the Tiger QB: 215 yards and 2 TDs, but most importantly, ZERO interceptions.