Rogers, Hatten will battle for QB slot

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 9, 2000

Sports Editor

And then there were two.

Junior "Mr. Everything" Quez Burden, the Goshen Eagles starting quarterback last season, has officially moved to fullback as fall practice got underway on Monday at Goshen.

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Eagles head coach Joe Thornton said Burden wanted to "go ahead and make the move early on" and not get caught up in a "three man rat-race for the starting job." Junior Averick Rogers and senior Michael Hatten are also vying for the quarterback slot at Goshen.

"Quez is just a team player," said Thornton. "Plus he’s a winner and he understands that this move by him helps out the team as a whole."

But Thornton, who often refers to Burden as "Slash", after Pittsburgh Steeler QB Kordell Stewart, hasn’t ruled out the possibility of putting Burden back under center during the regular season.

"Quez doesn’t have the greatest arm in the world," Thornton said. "But he possesses all the intangibles. He’s got great speed, he listens and doesn’t make mistakes."

Hatten started for Highland Home last season to help lead the Flying Squadron to a 10-3 record and a Class 2A playoff birth. Hatten said things are going to be interesting when he takes the field against his former team on Oct.27.

"I wish my buddies at Highland Home the best of luck this year," said Hatten. "But when we step on the field it will be a different story."

Hatten said he is beginning to "pick-up more" on Thornton’s offense.

"It’s just a lot easier to grasp then Highland Home’s," he said. "He gives a little more freedom. We get to audible off at the line on the first couple of downs."

Hatten also said the system was a "little more wide-open" then what he was used to.

"Coach Thornton likes to spread the field a lot," he said.

But Hatten said he likes the idea of spreading the field, simply because of the receivers he has at his disposal.

"Kendaris (Pelton), Jamar Tucker…we’ve got some great wideout’s," he said. "And they’ve got the hands."

The senior quarterback agrees that Burden can be a real threat in the Goshen offense from the fullback position.

"Quez has always been a hard runner," he said. "He can play fullback or tailback. Having him back there just makes our backfield that much better."

But like Thornton, Hatten also agrees that Burden can create havoc for an opposing defense by simply lining up under center.

Thornton said Hatten has looked good in the first few days of practice.

"Michael’s looked sharp," he said. "But so has Averick. It’s still a tight race between them.