Change has come to the quarterback position for the Falcons, and the lanky junior is looking to take control.
By Brandon HENSLEY
Neither quarterback for the Crescenta Valley High School football team was willing to say who the starter would be heading into this season, but their coach sure was.
“Brian’s the starter,” Coach Paul Schilling said last week after a scrimmage with some CV alumni players.
That would be Brian Gadsby, the incoming junior, getting the nod over Joe Torres, a senior who took most of the snaps for the team last year.
Gadsby was playing with the junior varsity when he was called up to the varsity for the last two games of the season. He wasn’t asked to do much in a last-minute win over Hoover, but he played a huge role in the season finale road victory over Arcadia, where he passed for over 200 yards and threw a touchdown.
Though the sample size is small, Schilling and his staff will trust Gadsby to have that winning effect carry over to the 2013 season. An inconsistent offense, including an injury to main wide receiver Jack Lutynski, hurt the Falcons in 2012, and they finished the year 5-5 with no playoff appearance.
Gadsby as the starter puts to rest uncertainty over that spot, which hurt the team last year. CV went into the year with Torres and Ben Rees both as the starters, and Schilling played one more than the other depending on the in-game situation.
But as the saying goes, if you have two starting quarterbacks it means you have no starting quarterbacks.
CV’s passing offense recorded just four touchdowns. Rees eventually fell out of the starter’s spot due to injury, and by the time CV was 3-5 after a bad loss to Glendale, Schilling had nothing to lose by bringing up Gadsby.
With Rees now moving over to receiver, as well as safety on defense, it’s the relationship between Gadsby and Torres that might be key this season. Both are friends, as well as teammates on the baseball team – which won a Pacific League title in May – and both claim to be motivated only by what’s best for the team.
“Whatever gets the win is all that matters; whoever gets the win at the end of the game,” Gadsby said.
“We’ve grown up long enough together, we’ve grown since we were little kids playing every sport under the sun,” Torres said. “There’s no animosity, I guess that would be the word, between us because we play every sport together.”
This is the first full offseason for Gadsby on the varsity team, and he said Torres has been more than accommodating in helping him out.
“He was cool at the Arcadia game and the Hoover game,” Gadsby said. “He was the one helping me out and getting me better. So far this spring he’s been helping me out and getting me used to varsity, all the plays and everything.”
Gadsby, a standout pitcher in baseball, is more of a gunslinger on the field than Torres, more willing to take risks. To their credit, Rees and Torres did not throw an interception last year. Gadsby threw a couple in his two starts and will likely have several more this season, but Schilling said he’s willing to accept more turnovers if Gadsby can consistently move the ball down the field like he’s capable of.
“That’s what sets him apart. He just chucks it,” Schilling said. “He’s got the perfect personality. It’s the same when he pitches. He’ll hit three guys in a row and then strike the next three out.”
Gadbsy doesn’t have Lutynski anymore, but he’ll probably have more options than any quarterback did last year. Kyle Tavizon, a runningback and slot receiver, was the team’s most versatile player, and he returns. Rees is now a receiver, and the team also has options in Connor Van Ginkle, Weston Walker and Chase Walker, who Torres said has been the best receiver this summer.
Gadbsy thinks it will be a more active offense than it was previously.
“I think we might go pistol a lot this year, and I think we’re going to run a lot of options,” Gadsby said. “It worked out in the Arcadia and Hoover games and hopefully it works out this season.”
The pistol formation is like the shotgun, except the quarterback stands a little closer to the center and the tailback is behind the quarterback, rather than next to him.
Schilling said the offensive line is more inexperienced this season, so the system will be about quick reads and getting the ball to the receivers in timely fashion.
But whoever is in the pocket, the guy on the sideline will be rooting for him, said Torres. There’s no ego here.
“Nope. Our backgrounds make us stay humble,” Torres said. “You can’t really have an ego when you’ve grown up together since you were 6 years old.”