MP, DV will have new quarterbacks in 2010 - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Sports

MP, DV will have new quarterbacks in 2010

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Posted: Sunday, August 15, 2010 3:30 pm | Updated: 3:14 pm, Thu Aug 26, 2010.

Stability is an attribute that high school football coaches love to associate with the quarterback position.

That is made easier when the previous season's starter jumps right back into the huddle, bringing experience, respect and leadership with him.

That isn't the case this year at either Desert Vista or Mountain Pointe.

The Thunder has three quarterbacks battling for the starting spot. The Pride has a starter, but he is at his fourth high school in three years.

It's not the ideal situation, but it also doesn't mean that it puts a team in a losing situation, either.

"Our quarterback last year didn't really play varsity before and he did a fine job," Mountain Point coach Norris Vaughan said of then-senior Austin Blom, who had six pass attempts as a junior. "He did a good job of facilitating the offense.

"It all comes down to what you want from the position and matching it to what he can do."

Vaughan did a great job of that last season when Blom helped Mountain Pointe to an undefeated regular season before finishing 12-1.

The veteran coach will attempt to do the same thing with junior Kyle Faunce, who enrolled in Mountain Pointe last April.

Faunce is finally settling into a place after leaving Indianapolis, where he played in the final three games at Cathedral High as a freshman, for Arizona prior to last school year.

He landed at Scottsdale Saguaro, but it wasn't a smooth transition after initially winning the starting position. Faunce eventually faced disciplinary action, lost his starting position and then broke his arm once he returned.

In total, Faunce has played six games his first two seasons at the high school level.

"He is tough, but he was injured and doesn't have much experience," Vaughan said. "He can make plays and do things with his feet and arm. He is going to be a great quarterback once he learns what we need him to do; Kyle will do some great things at Mountain Pointe before he graduates."

Faunce enrolled at Pinnacle once the season was over after the lease on the family's apartment ran out. They rented a place in Phoenix before finding a home in Ahwatukee Foothills last spring.

"It's been interesting and it was hard at times," he said. "It got to the point where we needed to find a home and I have that here. Coach Vaughan and everybody here have welcomed me with open arms and it has been awesome.

"I haven't felt like this since Cathedral."

Anyone who saw him play at Saguaro might not recognize Faunce today. He has grown 2 inches and added 45 pounds since he showed up in Arizona and sits at 5-foot-111/2 and 195 pounds.

It has given him more confidence than ever to go along with the bit of experience he gained with the team in 7-on-7 competitions.

"It was very important to make sure I understood the offense," Faunce said of the timing on his arrival. "I am still having some troubles here and there, but we are working on that. More importantly, it has allowed me to develop some leadership, which is very important at quarterback."

For the first time in his career, Faunce is in an offense that begins most plays under center rather than in the shotgun out of a spread offense.

"The footwork was the hardest part, but Coach Vaughan has done a great job of working with me," Faunce said. "He is a great coach for quarterbacks. The individual, one-on-one time he has put in with me has been huge in my development."

Desert Vista coach Dan Hinds doesn't have a named starter to focus on just yet as the three quarterbacks attempt to distinguish themselves heading into Wednesday's scrimmage at Tucson Ironwood Ridge.

The candidates are senior Harrison Hays, junior Hunter Rodriguez and sophomore Matt Young.

"This is a good competition with all three capable of starting," Hinds said. "We are not picking the lesser of three evils. We are in a good spot."

All three bring different intangibles, but none of them have varsity experience.

Hays started for junior varsity as a sophomore, but hasn't been in the program in the last 15 months for personal reasons (see "Coming out of Hays" on A1).

"I am thinking clear and I tend to pick things up quickly," Hays said. "(The other two candidates) have been helpful and supportive. It's a healthy competition and we really push each other."

Rodriguez is a physically imposing athlete at 6-foot-5 and 200 pounds. The left-hander was the JV starter last season and the natural progression would have him moving on to be the starter.

He has a strong arm, the most experience with the playbook and unwavering confidence.

"I know if I play to my potential, I will put myself in position to be starter," Rodriguez said. "The game is faster, but I am ready."

Young was the starter on the freshman team and the fact that he is already being considered for the varsity starter spot says a lot about his potential.

"I'm trying to get used to it," he said. "I think I am more versatile than the other guys, but whoever they pick is going to help the team win."

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