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Local

Sharp leads deep QB group at Newman

Comets quarterback club

Michael Krabbenhoeft/mkrabbenhoeft@saukvalley.com
Newman's Jake Snow runs the ball against Riverdale during their Week 5 game in Sterling. The Comets ground game is getting a leg up thanks to four quarterbacks they can count on to run the attack.
Michael Krabbenhoeft/mkrabbenhoeft@saukvalley.com Newman's Jake Snow runs the ball against Riverdale during their Week 5 game in Sterling. The Comets ground game is getting a leg up thanks to four quarterbacks they can count on to run the attack.

Depth has been a luxury that Newman coach Mike Papoccia has enjoyed the last few years.

But even he has never had the surplus of capable quarterbacks that the Comets possess in 2012. Newman dresses four players that take snaps at practice.

"I've never had this many quarterbacks," Pappoccia said. "To have that kind of depth is rare. We have four kids that know the offense and that we know that we can count on. We also have a sophomore who's playing really well at that level." 

Junior A.J. Sharp has started for Newman since Week 5. Senior Luke LeMay handled the bulk of the snaps before that. Papoccia said that senior Luke Terveer and junior Nate Terveer are also steady hands. 

But for now, Sharp is the guy that has settled into regular duty. 

"He runs the offense well, and he's better able to make plays in the passing game," Papoccia said. 

Sharp (5-foot-7, 165 pounds) settled into the role quickly. He credits the competition in practice as one of the big things that helped him get ready for game action.

"It makes you a lot better having those guys arounds," Sharp said. "You have them around at practice, and it makes you work harder." 

Sharp is no stranger to high-stress situations. He played a key role last winter in the basketball team's run to the 1A supersectional game. 

Those big games made it easier for him to handle varsity snaps in football.

"I know that has helped," Sharp said. "I was nervous when I first went in to play, but I don't think I was as nervous as I would have been if it hadn't been for basketball." 

Next on the docket for the undefeated Comets is the winless Hall Red Devils on Saturday at Roscoe Eades Stadium. 

Newman's offense is rolling, having scored 123 points in the last three games. They've allowed only six points in that same span. 

Hall, on the other hand, has scored 71 points for the season. They've hung with Big Rivers heavyweights Bureau Valley, St. Bede and Morrison, but have not been able to put together a full four quarters to earn a win.

"They've played well enough in most of their games to win," Sharp said. "They always seem to have a few mental breakdowns that end up costing them."

Senior running back Landon Piccatto is the team's biggest offensive threat. He scored three touchdowns last week against Erie-Prophetstown. 

When: 1:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Roscoe Eades Stadium

Radio: 102.7 FM

Twitter: Follow Dan Woessner (@DanWoessner) for live updates

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