For the first time in three years, Monrovia has a bona fide quarterback battle.
As long as Nick Bueno was around, the Wildcats never had to think twice about who should lineup behind center on Friday nights. But with Bueno, last year’s CIF-Southern Section Mid-Valley Offensive Player of the Year, lost to graduation and off at Cal Lutheran University, Monrovia coach Ryan Maddox has two quarterbacks vying for the starting spot: George Frazier V and Blake Heyworth.
“I don’t think we’ve really solved anything right now,” Maddox said following Friday’s practice. “They’re both doing very well. We’re going to have to kind of see as we keep progressing through this next week and a half of pads.”
Frazier is the known commodity around Monrovia. He earned All-CIF honors at linebacker for the Wildcats as a sophomore and threw for two touchdowns serving as Bueno’s backup. Heyworth comes to Monrovia as a transfer from St. Francis.
Both junior quarterbacks offer a distinctly different style than the jitter-bug Bueno who was just as capable of beating opponents with his feet as his arm. Frazier and Heyworth are each more prototypical pocket passers.
Frazier gets the edge in arm strength, while Heyworth might be the more accurate of the two.
“They both handle themselves well they both are great leaders,” Maddox said. “They take command of the huddle and they both have strengths. They’ve both very good throwing the football. They deliver the ball. They read well. They know what they’re doing. It’s a pretty heated battle right now; they’re pushing each other.”
Maddox said he doesn’t envision a scenario where Frazier and Heyworth share duties at quarterback, and he expected the position to be solidified following next Friday night’s team scrimmage.
“We’ll start filming all the practices and breaking everything down,” he said. “We should have a good idea after Friday’s scrimmage who going into the following week will be No. 1.”
Whoever wins the starting job will benefit from throwing to one of the Wildcats’ deeper receiver corps in years. The Wildcats return Luke Williams, Anthony Craft, Brandon Wingenbach and Mason Bryant from last year’s varsity squad.
Williams, Craft and Wingenbach combined for 11 touchdowns last year.
Maddox has maintained throughout the summer that the receiver position will be one his squad's biggest weapons this year.
“We’re going to be phenomenal at receiver,” Maddox said. “Teams are going to have a hard time covering the field. … It’s one of those situations where you’ve got to try to take away something so we’re going to look to exploit and we’re blessed in that situation
“ … So it really does put pressure on defenses. It’s going to make George and Blake’s transition at QB much easier because they’re experienced receivers that know what they’re doing. The quarterbacks just have to deliver the football.”