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Quarterbacks Are Key As Football Season Begins:

Many years ago a coach answered a question about his quarterback by saying the guy was merely one of 11 players on the offensive platoon, no more important than anyone else.

As my career went on, I had reason to question that reply. The quarterback is the only one who handles the ball on every play. And often he is the team leader.

Now the 2007 high school football season is beginning, and a lot is expected of the Ocean League’s top three quarterbacks. Their performances, in fact, will have a lot to do with the outcome of the league race.

Ryan Katz will play the first game of his senior season for Santa Monica High Friday night, September 7 against Hueneme High at Corsair Field.

Katz followed a superb junior year with exceptional play in the summer and earned a scholarship to Oregon State.

Although some media outlets have been reporting that Katz made significant improvement in the summer, it’s been well known at Samohi for several years he’s a special prospect and only required normal development to become one of the best prep quarterbacks in Southern California.

He’s a skillful passer, and it’ll be interesting to see how much Coach Zach Cuda uses a shotgun formation that’s been added to the Samohi offense to take advantage of Katz’ running ability.

Darius Banks of Culver City and Dex Lucci of Beverly Hills are the league’s other prominent quarterbacks.

Banks was the state’s passing leader last season with more than 4,000 yards. Although all of his receivers have committed to four-year universities he begins his senior year uncommitted.

Lucci has proven to be a big-time quarterback too, deserving of being mentioned with Katz and Banks.

In last weekend’s opening games two other Ocean League teams, Inglewood and Hawthorne, absorbed defeats. They aren’t expected to be championship contenders, which leaves Morningside as the team to watch.

Last season Morningside parlayed a 27-6 victory over Santa Monica into a CIF playoff berth and joined Culver City and Beverly Hills as the league’s representatives.

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