Tigers' QB Young outstanding in 1st year as the starter
CATAWISSA R.R. - Southern Columbia football coach Jim Roth, for all his attributes, has not been known as a quarterback guru over the years.
Maybe that should change.
For the second straight year, Roth has put the Tigers' offense in the hands of a first-year senior starting quarterback, and the results have been, if not spectacular, close to it.
Taylor Young, in 11 games (he sat out the Warrior Run game) has completed 54 of 98 passes for 1,013 yards and 13 touchdowns, with just three interceptions. That gives him a passer rating of 175.821, according to the NCAA passer rating formula. By comparison, the NCAA Division I single season record if 191.8, set last season by Russell Wilson of the University of Wisconsin and the career record is 175.6, by Sam Bradford of Oklahoma.
In fact, Young's passer rating is even higher than the 165.474 achieved last season by Roth's first-year starter of 2011, Brad Fegley, who was The News-Item's Offensive Player of the Year, led Southern to a 14-2 record and the Class A state runnerup trophy by completing 111 of 181 attempts for 1,770 yards, 14 touchdowns and no interceptions.
If you combine Fegley and Young's numbers, it would make for one heck of a two-year career - 165 of 279, 2783 yards, 27 touchdowns and just three interceptions.
Young has also rushed for 290 yards and five touchdowns, two of which came in Friday's 47-12 win over South Williamsport which gave the Tigers (12-0) their 21st District 4 A title in 22 years. Fegley ran for almost 400 yards and six touchdowns in Southern's 16 games last season.
Young, who transferred to Southern from Bloomsburg after the 2010-11 school year is, like Fegley, not the biggest guy in the world. He's listed at 6-0, 170 pounds. The 6-0 may be close but the 170 might be exaggerating a few pounds. Likewise, Fegley was listed at 6-0, 180, and the 6-0 might have been stretching a couple of inches.
But like Fegley, Young seems to have a presence on the field that only comes from an inner strength.
He's quick to credit his teammates for his success.
"Our offensive line was opening holes for us all game," Young said after he had runs of 30 and 31 yards against South Williamsport. "Both teams (Line Mountain and South Williamsport) had tough defenses but our offensive line is playing well. I was lucky the coaches called my number a couple of times."
Young spent the 2011 season as a starting defensive back while Fegley was handling the quarterbacking chores and had a solid season, but also was the JV quarterback.
"He's improved in his grasp of the offense and that's because he's been in it two years. But it's more advanced when you're a varsity starter than JV and he's picked it up well," Roth said. "One other key area that he's improved in is running the ball because earlier in his career he just didn't do it."
Although Young didn't come up within the Southern system as a younger player, it didn't take him long to adapt to the work involved.
"That's what it's all about," Young said. "You know if you play here you have a chance to go far in the state playoffs. But you have to do the work too."
"He's also gotten a lot more comfortable as a starter and it's led to him being a stronger leader," Roth said. "There have been games when he's kept his composure when we were struggling and it helped us.
"They've both been good decision makers and taken care of the ball. It's hard enough when you're not a passing team to throw the ball in high school. You have to do three things no one thinks about. Your quarterback has to drop back and make a good decision, your line has to protect him and your receiver has to catch it. We work hard on trying to be consistent when we do throw and the problems we've had this year have been more about protecting Taylor.
"I think Taylor could have even better numbers, but when you're up by 30 or 40 points, you shut the passing game down. Statistics for quarterbacks are all relative."