Maybe quarterback battle sounds a little more politically correct.
Nonetheless, the starting quarterback for the Great Bend High School football team is …
“Going into the third day of practices (today), I don’t know who our starting quarterback is going to be,” deadpanned Great Bend head coach Bo Black prior to Tuesday night’s evening session of grueling two-a-day drills at Memorial Stadium. “Wide-open.”
Mitch Kottas, a senior, and Matt Marshall, a junior, are battling for the starting quarterback job for the Panthers, who open the 2011 season on Friday, Sept. 2, traveling to Overland Park to take on St. Thomas Aquinas in a 7 p.m. kickoff.
“The truth of the matter is, they both have had a great summer and it’s not because they’re both average,” Black said. “They’ve both been developing into pretty good quarterbacks and it’s been fun to watch both of those kids develop and grow physically from a football-knowledge standpoint.
“They both understand the game. They get along with each other and it’s just pretty healthy competition. It’s just such a unique position. It’s the standout position and the one that catches everyone’s attention.”
Kottas and Marshall both played junior varsity last season, with Kottas taking only a few snaps on varsity.
The third-string quarterback in camp is sophomore Bryce Beck.
Greg Hildebrand, who was the starting QB for the Panthers the last two seasons, graduated in May.
Hildebrand threw for over 1,500 yards and tied Dodge City’s Jared Helfrich, the Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year, with 14 touchdown passes. He also was the fifth-leading rusher in the WAC, totaling 445 yards and seven touchdowns through the regular season.
Playing the toughest schedule in all classes in 2010, Great Bend finished 4-5 overall, including 3-1 for second place in the WAC. They came on strong late in the season, beating Hays and Salina South to capture the Class 5A District 7 championship and advance to the state playoffs.
Great Bend High School
2011 football schedule
Sept. 2 — at St. Thomas Aquinas, 7 p.m.
Sept. 9 — idle
Sept. 16 — GARDEN CITY, 7 p.m.
Sept. 23 — at Wichita Heights, 7 p.m.
Sept. 30 — DODGE CITY, 7 p.m.
Oct. 7 — LIBERAL (Homecoming), 7 p.m.
Oct. 14 — at Hays, 7 p.m.
Oct. 21 — SALINA CENTRAL, 7 p.m.
Oct. 28 — at Salina South, 7 p.m.
HOME GAMES IN ALL CAPS