New QBs breaking into lineup this season

Mill Creek head coach Shannon Jarvis can give a play to his quarterback, step back, and not worry about it.

He knows Daniel David will get everyone lined up correctly, read the defense and make an accurate throw.

For Jarvis, it's a luxury to not have to worry about the quarterback position.

"It's a tremendous advantage to have a quarterback returning," Jarvis said. "Going into the summer it's made it so smooth. He understands the offense and knows what to do. It allows you to do different things offensively."

Mill Creek is the only team in Region 7-AAAAAA with a returning starting quarterback this fall and one of six Gwinnett County teams with a returning QB.

That has made spring practice and now summer passing league tournaments more competitive as teams try to find their starter at QB.

"I think most everyone is the same in that they want their quarterback to be an extension of the way they think, the way they want the offense to run," Brookwood head coach Mark Crews said. "You want your quarterback to be on the same page."

The quarterback has and always will be the pivotal position in football. A quarterback with poise, toughness and good management skills will usually be successful. An added bonus is experience.

"I think quarterback play is a huge part in our league," Jarvis said. "It always comes down to quarterback play and how he manages it."

Just look at the quarterbacks of the last three state championship teams in the highest classification. Brookwood's Ben McLane, Grayson's Nick Schuessler and Norcross' Joseph Wilber all completed 60 percent or more of their passes and threw very few interceptions.

"Quarterbacks lose more games than they win," Jarvis said. "That's one thing I've always preached. You have to have the poise and toughness and know when to not turn it over."

In addition to Mill Creek, Archer's Gabe Tiller, Berkmar's JaQuan Morris, Greater Atlanta Christian's Rafe Chapple, Hebron's Connor Holliday and Buford's tandem of Taylor Mitchell and Montgomery VanGorder are the county's only returning QBs.

"It's a tremendous blessing. There's no replacement for experience, at any position," GAC coach Tim Hardy said. "To have a guy, who is the team leader and is playing such a critical position on the field and knowing he's played 14 football games with a lot of stuff on the line is huge."

Chapple helped GAC reach the state semifinals last year and is a big reason why the Spartans are favored for another deep playoff run. He comes from a pedigree of QBs with his older brothers Lee, Colton and Jared playing the position as well.

"It's a huge help," Hardy said. "To have a returning, starting, senior quarterback is an advantage."

For the rest of the county, there's still that learning curve of breaking in a new quarterback. How much of the offense do you give him? Can he make the big throws? Can he be a leader in the huddle? Those are things coaches look for as they go through summer passing league practices and 7-on-7 tournaments.

"We are a spread offense, so it kind of helps us to work on the timing with receivers and the backs," Collins Hill coach Kevin Reach said. "We can see his reads based on what coverage they are in and let him make some predetermined reads. It's good for us."

While 16 teams will break in new quarterbacks in August, some teams do have the luxury of a guy that has some experience.

Duluth's Thaddeus Bell, North Gwinnett's Hayden Sphire and Collins Hill's Tyler Herman all started at least one game last year for injured starting QBs.

"He does have some experience," Reach said of Herman. "Of course you would like to have a full year's experience, but he's picked up the offense quicker than I thought."


There will be a lot of fresh faces under center this fall for Gwinnett County football teams. Of the 22 schools, 16 will have new QBs this fall. Here's a list of last year's QB and this season's projected starter.

School Last year This year

Archer Gabe Tiller Gabe Tiller

Berkmar JaQuan Morris JaQuan Morris

Brookwood Zach Moon Joey McLane

Buford Taylor Mitchell/Montgomery VanGorder Taylor Mitchell/Montgomery VanGorder

Central Gwinnett Eman Westmoreland Eric Forrest

Collins Hill Brett Sheehan Tyler Herman

Dacula Brandon Goodson Aaron Grove/Chris WarnerDuluth Will Delorenzo Thad Bell

GAC Rafe Chapple Rafe Chapple

Grayson David McTier Hunter Schuessler

Hebron Connor Holliday Connor Holliday

Lanier Taylor Grant Canyon Cook

Meadowcreek Patrick Mills Kortez Towels/Antonio Bailey

Mill Creek Daniel David Daniel David

Mountain View Chris Bartlett Crew Peery, Sam Freitas, Alex Scott

Norcross Joseph Wilber A.J. Bush

North Gwinnett Michael Haynes Hayden Sphire

Parkview Rob Youngblood/Mac Marshall Tyler Fleetwood

Peachtree Ridge Bryston Sellers Chance Thrasher

Shiloh Devante James Will Larimore

South Gwinnett Jordan Ramey Malik Brown

Wesleyan Will Anderson Christian Stark/Drew Aspinwall/Charlie Hays