The Western Albemarle and Monticello football teams each made it to the 3A West Regional quarterfinals last season. But coming into summer training camp, both teams will be searching for a new quarterback.
The Warriors and Mustangs were on the field Saturday at the UVa 7-on-7 Tournament getting an early look at what they may have at the signal-caller position this fall.
Western coach Ed Redmond is tasked with the unenviable chore of replacing graduated all-stater Kent Henry, undoubtedly the heart and soul of the Warriors' team last season.
Rising juniors Henry Kreienbaum and Sam Hearn are splitting reps early, as they did Saturday. Redmond says Western's involvement in Saturday's Tournament was a good measuring stick to see where his potential leaders stack up.
"That's one of the main reasons we decided to come was because of our quarterback and their development," Redmond explained. "Certainly giving them a chance to compete against other people at the speed of the game that's being played today is very important because you can't simulate that speed in practice. So I think once you get out here and see the speed of the game, they see some areas of the game they need to improve."
The story is much the same with rival Monticello. But instead of a competition, head coach Jeff Woody is entrusting rising junior Daniel Hummel with learning the offense as he replaces James St. Hill. Woody is being careful not to put too much on his young QB's plate, and says Saturday's Tournament was a good lesson for Hummel.
"That's another positive about coming out here for 7-on-7," Woody said. "We can really focus on (Hummel), trying to get him to understand what's going on. And he's doing a great job. And it's great for Hummel to get thrown into this fire and have to experience that 7-on-7 is mainly pass-oriented so the windows he has to throw into are going to be a lot smaller. Plus he's playing against great athletes."
Both Redmond and Woody agree that while there are some positives, not much can be gleaned from Saturday's event in terms of how either team looks as a whole.
"It's more looking at individual performances and evaluating kids throughout the day," Redmond explained. "The way we operate, we're a spread team so we get to work on our passing attack. So it's a chance to refine our schemes."
"It's not football," Woody said. "But it gets us out here. We can build chemistry and we can also perhaps implement some new schemes with new personnel."