There is no quarterback controversy at Silverdale Baptist Academy. There isn’t even a quarterback battle.
It’s more like a quarterback tandem. At least that’s how seniors Nathan Keylon and Tanner Webb seem to view it.
The Seahawks have spent time this summer seeking successors for most of their 2013 starters. Quarterback is not one of those positions.
However, when it’s not that particular one’s turn to be calling signals, neither Keylon nor Webb will be doing a lot of standing around and watching the other. Webb is being asked this year to help at running back — a position he hasn’t played since before middle school.
“It’s a different experience than quarterback,” Webb said. “Whatever I can do to help the team.”
Coach Al Rogers describes Webb as a slasher and a “make-you-miss type of runner.” He plays quarterback when the Seahawks go with their shotgun formation.
“As a quarterback, he’s more able to roll out and make things happen,” Rogers said. “Keylon is a dropback, old-school type.”
The 6-foot-3, 200-pound Keylon is about five inches taller than Webb and outweighs him by about 60 pounds.
“I played tight end and defensive end as a freshman and sophomore,” Keylon said. “That’s not as strange for me as running back is for him. I still have some experience at that. I’ll probably be playing some defensive end, maybe some at linebacker.”
Rogers will examine several criteria before making the decision of whom to play at quarterback on a particular Friday night. Either could play the whole game or split time with the other.
“It depends on the defense,” Rogers said. “It depends on the athletes who comprise that defense. It depends on who has a good practice that week.”
Former University of Tennessee at Chattanooga quarterback Tim Couch is Silverdale’s defensive coordinator. He also finds time to work with the quarterbacks, which Rogers said has been a big help.
Rogers also said the team has another capable QB in mechanically sound sophomore Alex Gonzalez. It’s all for one, and one for all.
“I think we just all need to get better,” Keylon said. “We need to get better at the little things.”
— Kelley Smiddie
SILVERDALE BAPTIST ACADEMY SEAHAWKS
Head coach: Al Rogers (25-10 in four years here and overall)
Last year: 11-2, lost in quarterfinals of 2A playoffs.
Returning starters (O/D/K): 4/4/1
(all games at 7:30 Eastern unless noted)
Aug. 22 — at Lookout Valley
Aug. 29 — at Community, 8
Sept. 5 — Copper Basin*
Sept. 12 — Grundy County
Sept. 19 — Hayesville, N.C.
Sept. 26 — at Sweetwater
Oct. 10 — Chattanooga Christian
Oct. 17 — at Grace Academy*
Oct. 24 — at Bledsoe County, 8
Oct. 31 — Boyd-Buchanan
* District 5-A game
G/DL Jonathan Sanders (6-2, 243, Sr.) is not only a talented football player but also an ideal model of a leader by example. Counting middle school, Rogers has coached him six years and said he has yet to hear him complain. QB/TE/DE Nathan Keylon (6-3, 200, Sr.) had to grow up fast mentally last year, and he’s grown physically since. He also attended about 10 football camps and clinics in the offseason. RB/LB Hunter Arnold (6-1, 170, Jr.) was a starter at outside linebacker last year and was among the team’s hardest hitters. Rogers sums him up this way: “Loves contact.”
C/DE Josh Brady (6-3, 206, Jr.) has battled injuries his first two years but has remained positive and is looking for a breakout year. He’s highly regarded nationally as a long snapper. G/LB Jake Locklear (6-0, 200, Jr.) was not in the starting lineup last year but has worked his way into it. RB/QB/DB Tanner Webb (5-10, 141 Sr.) is part of a tandem at quarterback but will play some at running back to help the team. Rogers said especially at a small school a team’s best athletes need to be on the field somewhere, and Webb qualifies.
No football coach in the Chattanooga area can outdo Silverdale’s Al Rogers in squashing individualism and promoting the team concept. On statistics, the coach said this: “We’re all about team stats. When it comes to individual stats, they better be looking at them in a closet. Don’t let me know about it.”