by Andrew McCulloch
Due to the departure of senior Justin Sebo and the position change of junior Chris Zook, the Eagle football team entered the season in search of a new starting quarterback.
The question that confronted the coaching staff was whether to use senior Pearson Garnett or junior Michael Reul.
The answer: utilize the unique skills of each with a dual quarterback system.
Garnett has excellent athleticism and varsity experience on his side, being a three-year letterman. His strength and agility make him a nightmare for defenses, posing a threat both through the air and on the ground.
Garnett started at safety last season and the experience from playing at the varsity level helps him adjust to difficult situations.
Although having no varsity experience entering the season, Reul showed promise last season while starting on an undefeated junior varsity team.
He has great mental toughness and composure that helps him get the job done in crunch time.
“My greatest skill is my mind because I’m able to focus on making the right throws and not turning the ball over,” Reul said. “Any coach will tell you I’m going to find a way to win.”
In the opening game of the season against Rice Consolidated, Garnett played the role of hero for the Eagles.
Despite the poor play of the offensive line and the lack of an impact in the run game, he led the Eagles to a 21-20 victory with two touchdowns — one each rushing passing.
His 30 yard touchdown pass to Zook in the fourth quarter gave the Eagles a late lead and proved to be the game-winning score.
“I had some accurate throws and I ran when I needed to,” Garnett said. “It was a fun experience.”
Reul was appreciative of his counterpart.
“Pearson had a great game and really saved us,” Reul said.
Reul played well in what was his first varsity start, relying on his arm to keep the Eagles close throughout the first half, but growing pains were evident.
“I missed some key passes, but I know what I need to work on and learned a lot from it,” Reul said.
Reul responded well with an excellent game against arch rival Strake Jesuit to lead the Eagles to a 17-14 victory.
His mental toughness and composure helped him on the final drive that set up the game winning field goal by sophomore Jack Brady.
Both Garnett and Reul have confidence in one another, an important quality for quarterbacks to have in such a system.
They trust each others’ abilities and believe that they each will continue to progress for the benefit of the team.
“[Reul] is a great quarterback and he is only getting better,” Garnett said. “He deserves the starting spot and if people come out on Friday and watch us play then they will see his potential.”
Garnett has already seen progression in Reul since the beginning of his first season as varsity starter.
“I have seen [Reul] over these past weeks and he has grown a lot as a quarterback,” Garnett said.
Both Garnett and Reul are buying into the system and are dedicated to doing what is best for the team.
“I would not want it any other way,” Garnett said. “Michael will start the games and when the coaches want a change in pace of the game, then they will put me in.”
Reul sees the system as a way to not only change the offensive attack, but learn how to better himself as a quarterback.
“I’m able to step back and see the defense from a different angle while the offense is able to run some different plays and give the defense a different look,” Reul said.
Both quarterbacks have led the team to a victory and believe in the new system.
The decision to play both quarterbacks may be unorthodox, but the results do not lie; the system is working.