Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012 | 2 a.m.
Breaks will be in short supply for the stars of Durango’s football team this season.
New coach Matt Gerber, who spent years with the same post at Green Valley, doesn’t differentiate his players as offensive and defensive standouts. If they’re talented enough, they can play both sides.
“My philosophy has always been to play your best,” Gerber said. “Look around town at the best players and teams — Nate Starks is playing both sides of the ball for Gorman, Lee Griggs plays offense and defense at Palo. It’s a little out of necessity, as well, for us, but we want our best guys out there.”
That’s why All-Sun selections Marcus Williams and Arie McQuaig could force their way into the end zone as running backs one moment before wrapping up an opposing ball carrier for a tackle the next.
The 5-foot-11, 200-pound Williams anchors an experienced defensive backfield while the 5-foot-11, 205-pound McQuaig could become the Trailblazers' leading tackler at linebacker.
“They are a couple guys with some talent in the backfield,” Gerber said of the duo’s offensive exploits. “It makes a difference to have two guys who can take it to the house any time. They are both big backs with a lot of speed.”
Williams, who transferred from Bishop Gorman last year, committed to Utah this summer. McQuaig, who transferred from Palo Verde two years ago, will also wind up at a Football Championship Subdivision college as UNLV, New Mexico, New Mexico State and Hawaii have shown interest.
Same size, same style, same story — McQuaig and Williams appear to have an eerie number of things in common.
“They’re similar, but Arie is a little more physical,” Gerber said. “He’ll run you over. Marcus is a little more likely to try to make you miss.”
Joining McQuaig at linebacker are seniors Gene Germaine and Jon Kalderon. The group should make it difficult for any opponent to run the ball on the Trailblazers.
Passing won’t be easy, either. Senior Anthony Collins and junior Kameron Gillis lead the secondary along with Williams.
“Our defensive backs might be a little overlooked,” Gerber said. “We return most of those guys, and they are going to solidify us a little bit. We’ve got some skill there.”
Collins and Gillis, of course, will also start at receiver. Gerber installed a demanding offseason program to prepare the players for the rigors of never coming off the field.
“It’s a work in progress, but the effort was definitely there,” Gerber said. “We’ve had our couple scrimmages now, and they are ready to go.”