Written by SportsDayDFW.com
QB competition leads to offensive diversity, district title for Cedar Hill
CEDAR HILL — There’s something about his tone, about the way he says — no, almost announces — their names as if they’re about to run onto the field.
“This… is… ANDRE ANDERSON.” His name is almost shouted.
“It’s Dam-i-on Hobbs.” His name is drawn out into several syllables, stretching as if it might accommodate a lingering applause.
But here they are, on the side of a field, no game for several days, wearing polo shirts and jackets after a long day of school. That doesn’t matter to Cedar Hill coach Joey McGuire, though. He’ll hug the boys until they cringe and say their names just that way, because to him and to his team, they are special.
Their selflessness and hard work has been a force behind the District 5-5A champions’ success this year.
Last spring, Hobbs and Anderson competed for the starting quarterback job on McGuire’s team. When the season began in August, Anderson lined up as quarterback for the team’s grueling non-district trio of games against Allen, Denton Guyer and DeSoto, but McGuire said that even then, the position was not solidified.
He and offensive coordinator Michael Glaze chose Anderson against Allen because the senior had more experience than his junior counterpart, and Anderson played so well in a win over Guyer that he stayed in the game. But against DeSoto Hobbs began to get repetitions, and the coaches’ outlook changed.
“I felt like we could be a better football team with Hobbs at quarterback and Andre as receiver,” McGuire said.
McGuire put Hobbs in early in the team’s next game, against Mansfield Legacy, and he played so well that the tentative switch seemed like it could become permanent.
Both players have a similar outlook about football, and neither was upset about the switch. Hobbs has spent most of his time as a quarterback, while Anderson is capable of playing many positions, from receiver to quarterback to safety.
“I’ll do anything,” Anderson said. “Where the team needs me, I’m willing to play.”
Moving Anderson to receiver has opened several options for McGuire, who also uses the senior on kick and punt returns and even on kickoff coverage. Since the switch, Cedar Hill has gone 6-0 in district, and the move to quarterback has allowed Hobbs to showcase his rushing abilities as well — he’s scored nine rushing touchdowns since the move.
As the playoffs quickly approach, Cedar Hill must prepare to face tough teams from other districts, a situation that Anderson faced earlier in the season. McGuire said that having faced such a tough non-district schedule is a calming force on his players, and Anderson will have some words of advice for Hobbs as well.
“I’m going to let him know,” Anderson said. “I’m going to give him a few tips and pointers. He’s going to need them, because those guys were good. But I’m not going to tell him how to play his game. I’ve got to let Damion be Damion.”
And as much as McGuire would rather not think about the possibility of an injury, he knows he’s lucky to have two high-caliber quarterbacks at his disposal. Anderson has gotten a couple of repetitions each game at quarterback, keeping him fresh, and he said that he could switch back to the position at a moment’s notice.
But for now, McGuire isn’t dwelling on what could happen. He’s focused on what has: a seamless transition on offense that’s left his team a top contender. But that’s no surprise. Those attitudes and levels of effort are just part of the system he’s built.
“When you’re in a place that you’re used to winning and you put a premium on that, all the sudden these kids understand that whatever they need to do to keep that going, that’s what they’re going to do,” McGuire said.
Behind the bear hugs, behind the announcer’s voice and high fives, McGuire has a method, and with this transition it is undoubtedly working.