The Emerald Ridge High football team is hoping to create a bit of double vision for opponents this season with its quarterback position.
There will be two players taking snaps behind center, Logan Skoda and Gage Hansen, both capable of leading the Jaguars as they attempt to return the playoffs after a one-year hiatus.
There’s no competition here, just an old fashion dual quarterback system where each guy brings something unique to the offense.
“That Skoda DNA is something else. No complaints from him; he just works hard and never wants to be taken out of game,” said co-coach Adam Shakel, who is also the offensive coordinator. “They both throw a nice ball, and they can tuck it in and run it, too. They both get it done differently, with Skoda being a bigger, more powerful runner. Gage is a little savvier and makes defenders miss in the open field.”
Hansen was an unknown commodity last year for Emerald Ridge entering the week six meeting with former league rival Bethel.
Skoda was the starter the week prior in Emerald Ridge’s 35-21 win over city rival Rogers, where he connected with Daniel Gregory and Dustin Resnik on a couple of touchdowns. Skoda’s performance solidified him as the starter.
But then life interrupted the senior quarterback, thrusting Hansen into the spotlight.
“I always prepare as if I’m the starter. You always have to be ready to go in, because you never know what’s going to happen out there,” Hansen said.
Hansen started the game slow in a 35-28 loss to Bethel on Oct. 9, but eventually found a rhythm, tossing a touchdown pass to Andrew Boston and a pair to Resnik, making his case to for the starting spot.
“It all comes down to wanting to win the game. If (Hansen’s) playing the whole time, I’m fine with that — as long as we win, that’s all that matters,” Skoda said. “I know the receivers trust the both of us, and we trust each other.”
With many weapons to choose from — headlined by Boston and Marvin Williams — trust will be the defining factor whether this dual system will work.
So entering camp, both Skoda and Hansen proved capable to leading the offense. It was always going to be a tough choice, so Shakel and company decided not to go there; the staff decided it wasn’t worth the competition.
“We believe we have 1A and 1B at quarterback, because they both know the system better than anyone else,” Shakel said. “It’s going to be tough for defenses to prepare for them because they don’t know who we are going to (start).”
And sometimes, neither does the ER coaching staff, Shakel joked.
But that’s a good problem to figure out heading into the season. Whereas most teams are finding that one guy, and that hopeful backup, Emerald Ridge has two guys ready to call on.
“It doesn’t matter who has the hot hand, we’ll go with that guy, whether it’s me or it’s Gage. We’re going to ride that guy,” Skoda said. “It’s a great problem to have.”
Emerald Ridge opens the season on the road at new league foe Olympia on Friday (Sept. 2) at Ingersoll Stadium.