Quarterbacks duel for the starting job

Jordan Jacobo, Sports editor

With the Northwest Conference title out of reach, the final game of the football season against Lewis & Clark College on Nov. 11 was the debut for the future of the passing game and two young quarterbacks.

Senior quarterback Trevor Scharer, a poised two-year starter, bowed out after the team’s playoff hopes were dashed in a 10-6 loss to Whitworth University the prior week. It was time for the future of Wildcat football to make its mark.

The two quarterbacks gunning for the No. 1 spot, sophomore Aaron Boehme and freshman Cole Franklin shared their first shot at substantial playing time.

Boehme played the entire first half, completing 14 of 17 passes while throwing five touchdowns.

Franklin played in the second half as the ’Cats wrapped up with their strong running game. He threw one touchdown and managed 40 yards on the ground as Linfield completed a 66-0 onslaught of Lewis & Clark.

Now, as spring practices wind down and players prepare for their summer training schedules, a quarterback battle for the top spot on the depth chart is heating up.

“The goal of the spring was to try and see what they are capable of,” head football coach Joe Smith said. “I think we did that. It’s definitely still a competition between the two.”

Smith said the practices have shown him the leadership qualities that both quarterbacks possess. Boehme and Franklin offer a different skill set than Scharer had, and the offense is evolving to match the quarterback change, Smith said.

“He was a very natural passer, very prolific when throwing on the run,” Smith said. “Boehme and Franklin are a little more fleet of foot and have better pocket presence.”

Smith has not yet set a time table for deciding who will be next year’s starter.

Boehme, who played in six games this season and holds the edge in experience, said the competition has pushed him to improve.

Watching Scharer, who started during Boehme’s first two years at the school, helped him learn about what it takes to be a successful quarterback, he said.

“(Scharer) had a real fearlessness about him,” Boehme said. “He exuded confidence. Players looked to him and knew he would get the job done.”

Franklin, who came to Linfield after quarterbacking an option-based attack in high school, said being faced with a spread offense and pass-heavy playbook was a big change.

Franklin said the possibility of a tandem quarterback offense to start the season, where both players share responsibilities of the position, is a likely solution for the quarterback conflict.

Whatever the outcome, Smith said the choice will be what’s best for the team

“They are very positive guys,” Smith said. “They have the ability to inspire confidence in their teammates. They want each other to do well, which creates an extremely healthy
environment.”

 

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