“Hey Rick, if he catches that it’s night night,” said Phineas Yi as he lined up at free safety for the Trinity Classical Academy Knights at practice on Wednesday.
The Knights are going through a little bit of a quarterback log jam with returning starter Yi, last year’s backup Rick Roberts and Golden Valley transfer Gary Rowe, Jr. all fighting for the starting position.
“It’s going well, but I wouldn’t call it a competition,” Yi said. “We are all good and we all have our talents, but for this system I’ve been starting at quarterback for the past two years so I feel like I have it down.”
Getting the majority of the snaps last year, Yi threw for 804 yards, ten touchdowns and six interceptions for the Knights.
“Last year I kind of used my athletic ability more than my quarterback skills, but this year I kind of crisped up my skills a little bit and I have better coaching, so I think I got better in that area,” Yi said.
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Junior to-be Roberts got some experience, playing in nine games last year serving as Yi’s backup. Roberts finished the season throwing for 366 yards, three touchdowns and six interceptions.
Working on his agility and speed work, Roberts has tried to focus on his scrambling skills and his athleticism when he is flushed out of the pocket and forced to use his feet and intuitiveness to make the best play possible.
“We are coming out here working hard everyday and whoever gets the job gets the job and whoever plays will play, it’s best man for the job and we are ready to play some football,” Roberts said.
Transferring from Golden Valley is the third potential starter at quarterback, Gary Rowe, Jr. This will be Rowe’s third school in three years as he transferred from Vasquez to Golden Valley prior to last season before making the move to Trinity.
Working on his throwing motion over summer, Rowe has acclimated to the offense and said that the coaching staff is making the world of the difference because of the attention to detail that they offer.
“The coaching is just excellent here,” Rowe said. “…And I think that the coaches interact with the players and I think it just goes really good with it. Coach Rob and the rest of the coaches have been helping me grow and learn the offense pretty well.”
Arriving late to the team, the transfer agrees that it is taking sometime to get to know the offense and his teammates, but has no doubt that he will be ready by the time the season comes around.
“The team chemistry is pretty good, I mean I came a little late in the summer but I’m still getting used to the receivers so by the time the scrimmages are over, I should be good.
Returning key pieces like wide receiver Carson Campuzano and running back Jacob Estanol from last year’s team, the trio of would-be quarterbacks should have a formidable offense.
“I like the competition because it keeps all of them at their best in practice with no plays off and it keeps the intensity up for all the guys because it’s fire on every single play due to the competition so it’s good,” Campuzano said.
Campuzano led the team with 42 receptions for 427 yards and two touchdowns in nine games. Estanol, the team’s leading rusher, managed to pull down 13 receptions out of the backfield last year.
Taking a page from last year’s seniors, Campuzano and Estanol agree that they have to be more vocal and set a physical example for a hungry Knight team.
“We have to encourage them and tell them to get out there and get after it,” Estanol said. “Just pound and grind.”
With the opening game just a little over a week away, the Knights will have fierce competition between the three potential quarterbacks as the season gets closer and closer.
“It’s hot,” said Trinity head coach Les Robinson. “It’s very competitive out of those three. We are definitely going to find the one, so our scrimmage is this Friday and we should come out of there knowing who we are going to start to begin the season.