ONE NIGHT, FOUR QBS

Major colleges across the country love the quarterbacks who are available this year in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area. One of them, Marc Guillon from Miramonte of Orinda, has already committed to Miami. De La Salle's Matt Gutierrez and Piedmont's Drew Olson are near the top of most national lists, too. So what will happen next year? Try more of the same.

San Ramon Valley's Sam Keller already looks like a lock for next summer's Elite 11 quarterback camp. Monte Vista's Kyle Wright isn't far behind and may eventually turn out to be better. And while J.C. Lewis of Las Lomas lacks the magic height most colleges covet, he can make the tough throws and could fit in at a school that uses the option.

On Friday night, it was possible, thanks to some lead-foot driving up Interstate 680, to see four of those talented East Bay quarterbacks in action on the same night. At San Ramon Valley in Danville, it was Keller and the Wolves hosting Wright and the Mustangs. Just up the road in Walnut Creek it was Lewis and the Knights hosting Guillon and the Matadors. Three of the four quarterbacks, Wright, Guillon and Lewis already had gone over 2,000 yards passing before the night began. Keller was less than 150 yards behind, but had perhaps even more impressively 23 TD passes to go with just two interceptions.

A late JV game caused the beginning of the San Ramon Valley-Monte Vista game to be pushed back about 30 minutes. It was therefore not possible to see all of the first half of Monte Vista's eventual 38-34 win and besides I had already seen Keller play in a game against Foothill.

Both teams exhibited a strong pass rush and both quarterbacks showed what they do best. For Keller, it's stepping up into the pocket and quickly releasing the ball before he gets hit. For Wright, it's scrambling away from the pressure. Keller is bigger and stronger than Wright at 6-4, 210 to about 6-3 and 190. Keller also is more polished at this point with a better feel at throwing away from double coverage. But Wright may be able to improve much more between now and the spring, from a physical and mental standpoint. It wouldn't be surprising to see both among the nation's top 15 quarterback prospects for next year.

After Monte Vista took an early 7-0 lead at the end of the first quarter, it was already time to head toward the second game. As Dennis Miller of the Tri-Valley Herald pointed out, it did take only 10 minutes to make the drive from San Ramon Valley's field to Las Lomas. But the parking at Las Lomas was a different story so it was not until halftime until I arrived for the game against Miramonte.

Las Lomas came into the game against Miramonte with two straight losses, so I was a bit surprised to see that the halftime score was 21-21. The unbeaten Matadors came out smoking, as expected, in the third quarter, but Las Lomas continued to match score for score until late in the game before Miramonte finally prevailed, 48-41.

The last time I checked out a quarterback at Miramonte was also the second half of a game. This quarterback was Ken Dorsey (the current Heisman Trophy candidate at Miami) and I got to see him throw a grand total of three passes as coach Floyd Burnsed went to a running game to kill the clock after his team had built a solid lead. It was a different game this time and I was able to see Guillon throw frequently.

The 6-3, 180-pounder has an effortless feel about him. He makes every throw look easy. He definitely doesn't have the arm strength of Drew Olson or Ben Olson of Thousand Oaks, but he has an excellent touch. Dorsey doesn't have great arm strength, either, but no one doubts his strengths in other aspects of the position.

Lewis was the biggest unknown of the night. He's had many noteworthy outings during the season, but I had no idea how big he was or who he might remind me of. At first glance, it's obvious he isn't 6-4, 6-3 or 6-3 like Keller, Wright or Guillon. He's listed at 6-0, 195, but I felt in standing near him he was more like 5-11, 190. Lewis also doesn't have the well-schooled mechanics of the others. But I will say this: on one play he sprinted away from pressure toward his left and gunned a 20-yard strike right on the sideline. With hard work and improvement, Lewis could get Div. I college looks next season. He should prepare himself, though, that Keller and Wright will be getting more recruiting attention and start thinking about those colleges that do use smaller, mobile quarterbacks.

Since I didn't completely see either game, taking stats was out of the question. I was therefore highly anxious to check out the stat totals that were reported in Saturday morning's Contra Costa Times. In the Monte Vista-San Ramon game, Keller finished with a whopping 444 yards, completing 22 of 41 passes, and had five TD passes. Wright was backed by a stronger running game but still went 11 of 25 for 223 yards and two TDs. Guillon's stats vs. Las Lomas were not listed on-line, but Lewis's were. He completed 23 of 34 for 338 yards and three TDs. The key for Miramonte in its win was the running of Eric Carrie, who had 261 yards and three scores.

All in all, a pretty wild night in the East Bay.


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