Patriot QB carousel still spinning

Published 10:24 am Wednesday, August 24, 2011

It appears Pike Liberal Arts will go into Friday night’s season opener against Lyman Ward with a question mark as their starting quarterback.

Head coach Steven Kilcrease has yet to make a determination on the amount of playing time projected starter Josh Starling will receive if any at all.

“We don’t know right now,” Kilcrease said. “He’s getting better every day but he’s still got some work to do.”

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Starling suffered an ankle injury a few weeks ago which forced him to sit out last week’s 28-21 jamboree victory over Crenshaw Christian.

“It feels better,” said Starling. “I had a rough day yesterday (Monday) but it’s getting better.”

Starling said he will wear a brace on his injured ankle until he feels it is 100 percent.

Kilcrease said it isn’t Starling’s play that would keep him out of Friday’s game but the confidence level in the ankle.

“He didn’t look completely comfortable on it Monday so we’ll have to wait and see how it progresses.”

While Starling is considered the Patriots better passer he is not their only option.

Nick McLaughlin and Taytom Barnes have been working at the position all summer in anticipation of a three quarterback rotation. McLaughlin gives the Patriots a power runner who can also throw the ball.

“He can throw it for us,” Kilcrease said earlier in the summer. “He needs some work but he can throw it.”

Barnes is another mobile quarterbacking option who saw extended action against Crenshaw.

Starling is expected by players and coaches alike to be the main guy distributing the football once the meat of the schedule hits.

Starling did practice both Monday and Tuesday and said he felt ready physically to play Friday night.

Transfer playing well
Pike County High School transfer Garrett Stafford is impressing Patriot coaches in practice. The junior also sat out against Crenshaw but is expected to play for the Patriots against Lyman Ward.

Stafford has been working as a tight end offensively and has Kilcrease comfortable with his knowledge of the playbook.

“He’s picked up on it well,” the coach said.

“He knows the plays it’s just a matter of getting him where he need to be in our formations.”

Stafford said the biggest adjustment for him has been the change in positions.

“I was a guard at Pike County so I didn’t have to know a lot of this stuff,” Stafford said. “I’m getting  used to it, it’s just different.”

The Patriots take on Lyman Ward Friday night at Dwight Ward Field. The Patriots are 3-0 all time against the Rangers and have yet to allow a point.