Don’t be surprised if you see both Matt Marshall and Bryce Beck behind center at various stages on Friday night, when Great Bend High School travels to Dodge City for a crucial Western Athletic Conference football game.
“A quarterback controversy ... there’s no controversy at all,” Great Bend head coach Bo Black said. “We want Matt Marshall to be our quarterback, so we can have Bryce Beck at wide receiver and do some effective things through that.
“We want to get Bryce at quarterback, at times, to play to his strength and have a power running game out of it and use Matt at the fullback position in just the basic way that we do things.”
It has been something that has been in the works since the Panthers’ season-opening 14-6 win at Hoisington.
“We’ve been working for three weeks on how we want to finish the year at quarterback,” Black said. “Our kids have known that for three weeks, and there’s some packages set up that we have been working on.
“It really happened after Week 1. Eventually, we were going to work into what we want to do right now and we just haven’t been healthy enough to get everybody on the field at the same time.”
Great Bend, coming off a 41-0 blanking of winless Wichita North last Friday night at home, is 3-1 overall, 0-1 in conference play.
Marshall sat out the North game with a bruised knee, but is expected to return to the lineup against Dodge City.
Beck matched running back Josh Lopez with 97 rushing yards while scoring two touchdowns and going 2-for-2 on passing for 17 yards against North.
As Shade Wondra took the first snap at quarterback, Beck lined up at wide receiver on the first play from scrimmage after Great Bend recovered a Redskins fumble on the opening kickoff. Beck took a handoff from running back Jonathan Allende and scored from 24 yards out.
He also had a 4-yard touchdown run in the second quarter during the romp, helping the Panthers build an insurmountable 34-0 halftime lead before Wondra returned in the fourth quarter.
“Both Matt and Bryce are a huge part of our offense and both of them will be on the field 90 percent of the time,” Black said. “Most of the time, Matt will be in there at quarterback and Bryce will be in there in some certain packages.
“We feel like we’re real close to finally getting everybody healthy and getting into the offense that we’ve really wanted to be in the last two weeks now. We still want to run the ball, and we just haven’t been able to do that. We’ve always felt that once we get it up and running, we’re going to be more balanced than what we have been and comfortable in what we want to do.”
The Panthers platoon at a lot of positions, and the QB post is no exception.
“Our kids are firmly aware that we’re on the same page, we want to be successful and we could care less who lines up at quarterback,” Black said. “Both of those kids have played there a lot.
“We want to win football games. We’ve got a lot of kids moving around, and the quarterback position is not going to be any different.”