Hilton Head Christian has developed winning formula at QB

jjarrett@islandpacket.com
jjarrett@beaufortgazette.com
October 23, 2011 

The old saying goes that if you have two quarterbacks, you don't have a quarterback.

Nobody told Hilton Head Christian Academy.

The Eagles have turned a preseason competition into a quarterback cornucopia by finding the perfect times to substitute sophomore Brad Meccariello for freshman starter Caleb Lewis, a combination that has given them all the versatility in the position that they've come to expect after years with the likes of Gabe Gilmour, Joey Davis and Luke Sirgo taking snaps.

Lewis won the job in the summer, in part because, well, he's a quarterback. If he wasn't playing that position for the varsity squad, he would've been playing it for the junior varsity.

And he has appeared plenty ready for the top job. Physically, there was little doubt. Even as a freshman, Lewis is among the tallest players on the field at 6-foot-1, and he looks every bit the part of college quarterback in waiting. The only question was whether he was ready for the mental burden, but his statistics -- and the Eagles' 8-1 record -- indicate he was and is. Lewis has completed 78 of 145 passes (a healthy 53.8 percent) for 1,084 yards with 18 touchdowns and two interceptions.

You can bet his father and coach, Tommy Lewis, would have signed off on those numbers in a heartbeat before the season began.

Meccariello, on the other hand, is a valuable asset for the Eagles in several roles he couldn't have filled if he were the starting quarterback. He's so versatile, in fact, that he has earned the nickname "Slash" for all the jobs he holds -- quarterback/running back/receiver/kick returner/defensive back.

They could just as easily call him "Little Tebow" for the role he plays when replacing Lewis at quarterback. He's a hard-nosed runner who rarely fails to get the Eagles a few yards when they need to move the chains and makes them nearly impossible to stop inside the 10. His 336 rushing yards -- at a clip of 7.5 yards per carry -- rank second on the team behind running back Tyler Chisholm, and he has a team-high eight rushing touchdowns, including three in Friday's 35-26 win at Thomas Heyward Academy.

But he's no one-trick pony. When Caleb Lewis missed the Eagles' game at Northwood Academy with a concussion, Meccariello proved he could be more than a situational quarterback. He completed 9 of 11 passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns to go with 93 rushing yards and another score.

"I wanted to play quarterback -- I prepared for it all summer -- but Caleb has done a great job this season, and I just want to fill in and do whatever I need to do," Meccariello said. "It's definitely worked out for the best."

With the Eagles one win away from locking up another region title and going into the playoffs as the obvious favorite to win their third state title, that much is clear. And so is the Eagles' quarterback situation, muddled as it might seem.

"I can't complain," Tommy Lewis said.

Pick a quarterback?

No, thanks. He'll stick with two.

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