Kelley Rowe was Mr. Everything for the Southview offense last year.
As the quarterback, he was responsible for gaining more than 3,300 yards in 2003 while guiding the Cougars to their first 10-0 regular season. He passed for more than 2,500 yards, rushed for nearly 900 and accounted for 37 touchdowns.
Finding a suitable candidate to replace Rowe - The Blade's player of the year - presented a challenge for Southview coach Jim Mayzes.
The Cougars coach, who considered Rowe the best all-around QB to ever direct Southview's offense during his tenure, couldn't come up with a single player to fill Rowe's shoes.
Instead, he's relying on two.
Andrew Skeels and Scott Stansley, both juniors, represent Rowe's replacement. Call them the Cougars' starting quarterbacks 1A and 1B, although which is which is not clear. They share the quarterback responsibilities.
"It fits them, and I think it has worked well," Mayzes said of the platoon system. "Both can throw and both can run with it. It's worked that way and we're going to keep with it."
The coach added that Skeels and Stansley are good friends who "help each other a lot. We're really pleased with how they've played. They both throw well and each one would be a starter on most teams."
Skeels, who served as Rowe's backup last fall, stands 6-1 and weighs 175 pounds. He sees most of the playing time when the Cougars are in their spread offense.
Playing time is not an issue with him.
"I always support [Stansley] when he goes in and he supports me when I go in," said Skeels, who has completed 27 of 53 passes for 494 yards and four touchdowns in three games. "I like the way it works out.
"Everyone gets tired and I know I get tired, and knowing that if I get tired he can come in for me. If he gets tired I can go in for him. It allows me to go out and give it all I've got."
Stansley, a former linebacker who became a full-time quarterback last season while playing on the junior-varsity squad, stands six feet and weighs 188 pounds. He usually is on the field when the Cougars try to establish a running game. Stansley has hit 3 of 5 passes for 27 yards and run seven times for 27 yards.
He supports sharing the playing time with Skeels because he believes it benefits the team.
"It really doesn't matter the number of snaps I get, I'm just out there to help the team win," said Stansley, who has thrown two touchdown passes among his three completions.
Based upon the Cougars' 3-0 start, it would be hard to argue against Mayzes' two-quarterback system. The pair have helped extend Southview's regular-season winning streak to 13 games.
Neither Skeels nor Stansley approached the season thinking they had to try to live up to Rowe's play.
"We just try to look at it as another year," Stansley said.
"We're basically competing between ourselves and not against Kelley," Skeels said.
The Cougars begin their quest to repeat as Northern Lakes League champions when they play tonight at Rossford. The Bulldogs are 2-1.
Rossford coach Chris Werbylo said the Bulldogs are looking forward to taking on the defending league champions. The fact that Rowe has graduated doesn't make the Cougars any less of a challenge, according to Werbylo.
"They're a different type of team without Kelley Rowe," he said. "I think their coaches have done a fine job of adjusting to playing without him. It's less feature of quarterbacks and more featuring their team speed."
Both quarterbacks say having a talented group of players around them, including All-Ohio wideout Aaron Waldie, has helped them adjust to playing on the varsity level. Waldie, who caught a pair of TD passes in the Cougars' 43-27 win over Start a week ago, leads the team with 12 catches for 229 yards, with four touchdowns. Michael Campbell has caught six passes for 64 yards. Also, Gary Shannon (27 carries for 204 yards) and Eric Thompson (27 carries for 145 yards, team-leading six touchdowns) have provided a solid running game.
"I'm not afraid to throw throw the ball to anybody on this team because even if I throw a bad ball they're good at adjusting to go up and get it," Skeels said.
Mayzes is seeing the future of the Cougars quarterback spot develop twice as nice as he could have imagined.
"We'll keep playing both of them because it's an advantage for us," Mayzes said. "It makes us more versatile. It also makes us ready if one of them ever goes down with an injury."
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Defense has the edge over offense early in the season, right?
Apparently no one told Girard and Warren John F. Kennedy that.
They combined for 19 touchdowns, 126 points and more than 1,100 yards in total offense in the highest-scoring game in Trumbull County history.
JFK running back Tony Elzy rushed for 417 yards and scored seven touchdowns - and that was in a losing cause. JFK plays tonight at Genoa.
Girard quarterback Bobby Ovesny completed 34 of 45 passes for 469 yards and four TDs in a 64-62 win in regulation. Ovesny also rushed for three TDs.
LANDMARK: Woodsfield Monroe Central's Jay Circosta set an Ohio Valley Athletic Conference career record with his 247th coaching win, passing St. Clairsville's George Strager, in a 35-8 win over Hannibal River.
BITTERSWEET: Monroeville's Steve Ringholz collected career win 200 in a 42-20 victory over Seneca East. But the milestone was dampened for the 27-year coaching veteran when it was learned one of his former players - Jason Sparks, a 2003 graduate - had been killed in Iraq.
STREAKING: For the third time in four years Tiffin Columbian returned the season's opening kickoff for a touchdown, Justin Reinbolt going 99 yards in a 42-0 win over Whitmer.
NAME GAME: AP Division I No. 1 Cincinnati Colerain beat Princeton 45-12 behind the 178 yards rushing and three TDs of Mister Simpson. That's right, Mister Simpson.
NOTEWORTHY: North Baltimore beat Holgate 8-0 in a game in which nine passes were intercepted.41.24967 -84.13291 ERROR: Template storyimage.ldo not found in theme default for section HighSchool!
Kelley Rowe was Mr. Everything for the Southview offense last year. As the quarterback, he was responsible for gaining more than 3,300 yards in 2003 while guiding the Cougars to their first 10-0 regular season. He passed for more than 2,500 yards, rushed for nearly 900 and accounted for 37 touchdowns.