NEWPORT — Nobody cares if they shave yet, only if they can throw, run, take a hit on the blind-side and still command the field.
Horizons across Lincoln County will be aglow with the Friday-night lights of high school football Sept. 6 as local teams put their faith in a crop of exciting young quarterbacks carefully nurtured in youth football, middle school and junior varsity teams.
“These young guys didn’t suddenly fall off the school bus,” asserted Head Coach Rod Losier, who is throwing a freshman quarterback into the cauldron against against 4A Tillamook at 7 p.m. on Newport High’s Gene Morrow Field. “They’ve been playing football for years.”
On Wednesday, freshman southpaw Markus Everitt nailed wide receivers time and again with a blend of fast releases and long bombs carried on a light breeze, offering a glimpse into the new spread offense Newport will test against the Cheesemakers. Tillamook, 4-5 in 2018, will be seeking revenge for last year’s 8-32 loss to the Cubs in a festering, non-league rivalry.
Everitt has been under the microscope since the George Fox summer football camp earlier this summer, getting better with each practice. The move allowed Coach Losier to place quarterbacks Luke Losier and Austin Perry into tight-end and slot-receiver spots to balance the spread.
Everitt isn’t the only youngster at the helm. At Waldport, sophomore Zak Holsey will lead the 2A Irish at Myrtle Point Friday night, while another sophomore, Wayne Nephew, will take the hikes for 1A Eddyville Charter at Alsea.
Among the brightest underclass stars are the junior-year quarterbacks who have been tested with varsity playing time.
At Taft High School, junior Antonio Suarez Jr. will lead the Tigers against Harrisburg, a dangerous 3A opponent that garnered a 7-3 season last year after beating Taft 60-29. But Suarez, seasoned as a JV and backup varsity quarterback, can strike deep with startling accuracy.
“He’s a complete athlete,” beamed Head Coach Jake Tolan, who said Suarez served as a defensive end on last year’s varsity team before replacing injured starter David Jin, who has since graduated. “He showed a lot of maturity as a young sophomore and really competed well. He doesn’t like to lose.”
Returning to the quarterback slot for 2A Toledo will be athletic junior Jaxon Rozewski, who helped deliver a 5-5 season for the Boomers in 2018 — including a 29-18 win over Friday night visitor Nestucca. The game starts at 7 p.m.