QBs bring variety

Rushton, Rogers playing for Trumbull team in Arvin

CORTLAND — There’s an interesting contrast to the quarterback play for the Trumbull County team in tonight’s Jack Arvin Football Classic All-Star Game.

Two of the county’s elite quarterbacks bring vastly different styles to Canfield High School, and both are as exciting as it gets with their respective styles.

Liberty’s Dra Rushton is a fleet-footed dual-threat QB with uncanny open-field moves, while Zach Rogers of Lakeview was a legendary pinpoint passer for the Bulldogs, lighting up defenses during a spectacular four-year career.

They’ll be sharing time at quarterback tonight as they face all-stars from Mahoning and Columbiana counties in the 34th annual Arvin.

The duo has made things fun for Randy Clark, the longtime Brookfield coach who’s leading the Trumbull team. He’s tailored the offense to both players.

“I have two different styles of offense because I have two different styles of quarterbacks,” he said. “It’s not hard to do. We’re going to run some of the same plays with both of them, but there might be different (options) depending on who’s at quarterback. …

“It’s going to be fun,” he added. “We’re going to spread it out and they’re going to have their opportunities. You have to work with what you got. The offensive I normally run (at Brookfield) actually fits what we’re doing, so it’s not that bad.”

The two quarterbacks are enjoying it as well, and why not? Rushton and Rogers are surrounded by an embarrassment of weapons.

There’s the speed of Girard wide receiver Michael Belcik, the hands of Lakeview’s Drew Munno, the size of Warren G. Harding’s Terrion Jackson (6-foot-5) and the overall athleticism of fellow wide-outs Nate Fowler (Niles), Anthony Backus (Girard), Capone Haywood (Liberty), Evan Adair (Lakeview), Tyrese Johnson (McDonald) and tight end Chris Edmonds (Liberty). Don’t forget running backs like Alex Clark (Brookfield), Tyreq Moorer (Hubbard) and Jackson Deemer (Howland).

Rushton, a YSU recruit who also can line up in the slot or at running back, said there’s no animosity over who should play more. The two QBs are looking forward to cheering the other on and seeing how a loaded offense unfolds.

“Zach’s the big QB, so he got the arm,” said Rushton, who ran for 1,339 yards and 23 touchdowns and also passed for 907 yards and nine more TDs as a senior. “He throws a good 70 (yards). Me, I’m more of get the ball out quick, (run-pass options). We’re going to be electric though. … They got some fun plays. They got some NCAA plays. I’ve been waiting to run them. I can’t wait to go out there (tonight) and showcase them.”

Rogers is on board as well.

The strong-armed 6-2 QB, soon to be playing at Grove City College, said he’s enjoyed getting to know a new group of teammates — even the ones on rival teams like Girard and Champion. Any old grudges were quickly pushed to the side now that everyone is on the same team.

“It’s a lot of fun playing with them after playing against them,” Rogers said. “To be able to use their skill-set for my own team is a lot of fun.”

Rogers has reason to be excited. He’s coming off a year in which he completed more than 60 percent of his passes and threw for 1,337 yards, 15 TDs and just two interceptions. He did it all while playing with a broken bone in his leg during the second half of the season, so he’s looking forward to showing what he can do now that he’s back to 100 percent. But that’s not his biggest thrill heading into the game.

“It means a lot to play with my teammates again,” he said, “because my two receivers I’ve been throwing to since I first started throwing the football are on the same field as me once again, so that’s a lot of fun to play with guys that I’ve known forever.”

Players from three counties are looking forward to doing that one more time tonight in Canfield.

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