Most people view quarterback as the most irreplaceable position on a football team. An offseason injury to a team’s starting quarterback can often put an end to the team’s year before it even starts.
Riverside coach Bill Stubbs doesn’t buy into that line of thinking.
The Rebels (5-1, 2-0 in District 9-2A) have replaced their starting quarterback three times over the past two years and still has managed to rack up a 16-1 regular-season record the past two seasons.
Riverside had to go with freshman Jordan Loving heading into 2014 after expected starter Deuce Wallace, a Vanderbilt commitment, moved with his family to Tennessee before the season. Loving surprised many with an explosive freshman season, but a back injury over the summer has held him out the entire season, and he was forced to hand over the reigns to backup Jared Butler.
Butler suffered a broken elbow in a scrimmage leading up to the season, so the Rebels turned to wide receiver Herb McGee to lead the team heading into 2015.
“You never expect anything like that, nobody carries 15 quarterbacks on the depth chart,” Stubbs joked. “I commend our guys because they’ve remained focused and kept that winning mentality throughout. Of course, everyone looks at the quarterback as the most important guy on the field. But, our guys are focused on just becoming a better team everyday.”
McGee led Riverside to a surprising 4-1 record to start the season before Butler’s return, and now with both dynamic playmakers in tow, the Rebels head into an important district matchup against rival St. Charles Catholic (6-1, 2-0) on Friday that pits the No. 1 and No. 2 small schools in the New Orleans Advocate Super 10 against each other.
“It’s been really great in our first year in (District 9-2A) to have the two teams play each other because it helps make the rivalry bigger,” St. Charles coach Frank Monica said. “They have a really good team, and we know it’s going to be a really tough test for us as a team to contain them.
“(Butler) and McGee are two really explosive guys and our job is to make sure we limit them as much as possible.”
Friday’s matchup between Riverside and St. Charles Catholic will also be the first in a series of games to finish the season that will likely determine the winner of District 9-2A. The Rebels and Comets are one of the three teams that are currently undefeated in district play to go along with No. 4 Country Day (7-0, 2-0).
Both Riverside (on Oct. 30) and St. Charles (on Nov. 6) will get an opportunity to play Country Day, which gives Friday’s winner an opportunity to control its destiny in the district race.
Both coaches understand how much is on the line over the next few weeks, but they have both stressed to their respective teams that having a “one game at a time” mentality is crucial heading into Friday.
“Changing what you do as a team when you get into big games takes away from everything you’ve built up to that point,” Monica said. “It’s important for us to continue doing exactly what we’ve done up to this point and just worry about doing all the little things right.”
Stubbs said he expects Butler to take the majority of snaps at quarterback, but McGee will also get plenty of opportunities to take snaps, as well. Both players threw and caught touchdowns in each of the past two games for Riverside.
Lloyd Nash will get the start at quarterback for the Comets with Patrick Ratliff out because of an injury, but the sophomore has held his own since taking over the position. He passed for 238 yards and accounted for two touchdowns (one passing, one rushing) in last week’s win over Newman.
SCC will also look to defensive back and Tulane commitment Eric Lewis to make plays on both sides of the ball. The senior had a rushing touchdown and an interception returned for touchdown against Newman.