The Tonopah Muckers return this season with an experienced team, but without Seth Littlefield in the quarterback position.
Head Coach Duffy Otteson has used the summer to decide who will take Littlefield’s place.
In 2012, the Muckers finished in fourth place, 6-4 in a highly competitive Division IV league. Pahranagat Valley finished at the top with an 11-0 record.
This year junior Jimmy Withers will be competing with Connor Friel for the vacant position.
Withers may have a slight advantage because he was backup to Littlefield for the past two years and is well versed in the Muckers offensive system.
Withers also has another advantage because Connor Friel did not play football last year due to an injury to his hand.
Otteson said after his decision, the team will end up with a great starting quarterback and a great backup.
“Each young man will be graded on ball handling, such as receiving snaps, handoffs and throwing the ball. They will also be graded on their ability to run the ball when needed, such as scrambles and designed runs. In addition, they will be graded on their leadership and football smarts of our offense, such as decision making and controlling huddles.
“The QB spot on our team is not an easy job and there will be a lot of factors into what our decision will be. I am very excited about our upcoming season, we are young and very athletic,” he said.
Withers said he welcomes the competition and is looking forward to the contest.
“I am pretty confident that I can beat Connor out for the starting position,” he said. “I just got back from Australia and San Diego from a football camp and I learned quite a bit. I go out every day and work on throwing and getting better. I think the advantage I have is I know what we ran in the past and I kind of have an idea what Duffy will run on offense.”
Withers plays three sports for the Muckers: football, basketball and track. Of the three sports, football is his favorite. He has two more years as a Mucker and when he graduates he hopes to play football in college.
“It’s hard, especially playing in our division because we really don’t get any looks. So I have been going to camps. I actually got the quarterback award in San Diego at a football summer camp out of 13 other quarterbacks,” he said.
Withers’ goal is to win a state championship. He said for the Muckers to do this they have to bond as a team.
“We have to get the team together,” Withers said. “We have been getting the team together in the summer to work on things. We are trying to achieve team bonding.”
Withers feels this year is his to take more of a leadership role.
“I was told by one of the San Diego Chargers at football camp that just the little things bring people up. He said he was a firm believer in praising people for the little things so they will do better. People like it when other people say they are doing well and can do better. So I will always be out here praising people,” he said.
Withers believes the one thing his team needs to get right this year is defense.
“We have never had a problem scoring,” he said. “Our one struggle is defense. I think the defense will do better this year because we have a lot of depth this year.”
Withers is a person who constantly pushes himself to improve.
“I think about the things that should happen,” Withers said. “I try to keep away from thinking about the negatives. I train my mind to not worry about the bad things and just the good things that should happen. I have to work on reading my defenses. I study the coverages on a website to get better at reading defenses.”