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The football coaching staffs of Bishop Luers and Bishop Dwenger High Schools came into Friday's scrimmage at the University of Saint Francis hoping to find their starting quarterback for the season.
Well, both staffs seemingly have, but in entirely different manners.
The Knights appear to have settled on junior Quinn Cook due to his ability, though Knight coach Matt Lindsay vowed that he wouldn't “name (the starter) in the newspaper.” Conversely, the Saints appear to have settled on sophomore Cody Miller due to his availability, if not more so than his actual ability.
Whatever could go wrong for Bishop Dwenger this season pertaining to the quarterback position, has gone wrong. Saint coach Chris Svarczkopf is now on his third player at the position and Dwenger hasn't even played a game yet.
In the first week of training camp, Bishop Dwenger's returning starter, Mike Fiacable, blew out his knee and will undergo surgery on Friday. That left junior John Kelty to lead the Saint offense. That plan didn't last long.
Kelty was dropping back to pass during the scrimmage and as they did all night long, the Luers defense, most notably senior lineman Everett Green, got to Kelty and sacked him. In the process of bringing Kelty down, the quarterback's foot got caught on the turf and twisted in a gruesome manner. He immediately was helped off of the field and spent the remainder of the game on the bench with his left ankle and foot heavily wrapped.
That left Svarczkopf with no choice but to turn to sophomore Cody Miller, who also has been battling injuries this season.
“For somebody that has only practiced three or four days,” Svarczkopf explained, “he was injured on our first day of practice and was out for almost all of two-a-days, for somebody that really hasn't played any quarterback since his freshman year, he did a pretty nice job.”
Miller did do an admirable job against the vanilla defense that the Knights were throwing at Dwenger. Needless to say, Luers will be more complex, aggressive and formidable in the regular season against Miller. As will North Side, Snider, Chatard and Cathedral.
“Cody took charge of the huddle,” Svarczkopf said. “He had a lot of good things to say in the huddle. He's a good young man.”
Svarczkopf told the youngster to “take a deep breath, relax and just do the best that you can,” and Miller did at times. He exhibited mobility and made a nice throw for a score into the back of the end zone off of a roll-out to close the scrimmage, which was one of the few bright spots for the Saints on a night where they were dominated early, often, and everywhere.
“He was fine,” Svarczkopf said. “The good thing was that he had coaches out there to help him a little bit and we won't have that next Friday (the Saints open the regular season by hosting South Side).”
Lindsay had the luxury of being able to sit back and relax throughout the evening. Not only did his team completely overwhelm its biggest rival in just about every conceivable fashion, he watched not one, but two players man the quarterback position fairly well.
“I thought Quinn (Cook) and Noah (Wesensky) both did a nice job of running that first unit,” Lindsay said. “I liked some of the things that both of them did.”
Cook has received the majority of work with the first string through training camp, but the lanky junior didn't know for sure what that meant in terms of his future.
“I haven't been named the starter officially yet,” Cook said. “But I've been taking most of the first team reps and going first.”
Cook showed promise and he credited former Knight starter James Knapke for his development over the past two seasons.
“I think that I did a good job managing my nerves,” Cook said. “This is my first time coming out and starting with the varsity team, so I learned a lot from James there. I owe a lot to him.”
Cook has a couple of years of experience and maturity on the freshman Wesensky, but Lindsay said that the two both showed signs of being capable of leading a team that is vying for its fourth consecutive IHSAA Class 2A state championship.
“Noah is very composed for being a young man,” Lindsay said. “He has a great arm. Quinn has more experience. So he has that advantage, but I was happy with both of them. They didn't really solve our problem, but I was happy with both of them. (Having two quarterbacks) is a good problem to have.”