BROCKTON -- They've got three quarterbacks to choose from and it's a problem Brockton High football coach Pete Colombo doesn't mind having.
In a program known to showcase talent -- and the wins to back it up -- Colombo is spinning his wheels on which quarterback to hand over one of the offense to, one of the most explosive offenses in Massachusetts this season. He's narrowed down his top two candidates in the past week to sophomore Austin Roberts, who held the No. 1 job late last season on the fly, and senior Paul Mroz. On the tail end of the group right now is sophomore Micha Morel. And if you ask Colombo straight up, he'll tell you he might just ride it out with both of them -- or even all three.
"I think we're gonna need contributions from both of those quarterbacks before it's over," Colombo said. "No doubt about it. We have a senior that brings different skills and a young sophomore that's right underneath him. All three good athletes. All bring something a little different. We may need to tap into that. I'm not a big proponent of that, but it's an unusual situation.
When the quarterback decision is decided, or decidedly undecided, the weapons Brockton will display are well known. Seniors Albert Louis-Jean and Trevon Offley, who were just voted as team captains today, will be threats at receiver and running back for the Boxers. Louis-Jean has committed to play for the University of Miami and Colombo sees Offley, a slippery yet stout 5-foot, 8-inch 185-pounder, as the next likely Boxer to draw a Division 1 scholarship.
"Trevon is going to be on everyone's radar," Colombo said.
Last season was a downer for the Boxers, not because they finished 10-2 and lost in the Division 1 semifinals to eventual Super Bowl winner Xaverian, but because of the events that precipitated the game and helped fuel the loss. Three players were cited and suspended for two games for possession of alcohol, including the team's starting quarterback. It put the Boxers in a tailspin, forcing them to roll with then-freshman Austin Roberts as their signal caller. They also had lost their leading linebacker, the same player who brought in all of the plays to the team's defense. The 21-14 loss to Xaverian that followed still has some sting to it.
"That threw us off," Louis-Jean said of the suspensions. "That messed up the team big time.
"Every year we have the players," Louis-Jean continued. "But there's something that always happens where it doesn't come together. (This year), we have all the pieces to the puzzle."
Part of those pieces is leadership, Louis-Jean said. As captain, along with Offley, he's being asked to be a model for the rest of the team. And hopefully, that will reverberate in the school community, Colombo said.
"I expect every one of those kids to be a leader, wherever they're at," said the coach. "(There's) a lot of pitfalls in the course of a school year and a lot of decisions that need to be made by these kids. Ultimately, that's why I do this. Because it's an educational process. This is part of their schoolwork as far as I'm concerned. Our schools are getting people ready for the real world. I'll quote the president and his education secretary, 'it's about getting ready for college or work.' We know from years of history and from players that come back and tell us, that they now are successful people because of all of the little stuff you teach in the course of teaching football. And that's what we're gonna do. Whether we go 0-and-11 or 11-and-0. We're gonna teach the same thing."
The talent is there, the team is just looking at its 18 seniors and captains for the leadership needed for a Super Bowl run. The Boxers haven't won the big dance since 2005. And yes, that is their goal.
"I've already got my dream, to be a Division 1 player," Louis-Jean said. "Now, I want to complete my high school career with a Super Bowl win."
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