With former Plainview quarterback and current Oklahoma State Cowboy track athlete Spencer Somerville sporting orange in Stillwater, a heated three-horse race to see who will earn the role as QB 1 for the Indians is well underway.
The FCA 7-on-7 football tournament at Plainview Stadium offered a peek at the future of the offense as Plainview’s spoil of riches at the quarterback position spread the wealth in the passing game.
In the fall, it appeared the competition would be a two-horse race with Drake Sizemore looking to challenge Brock Parham as the heir apparent to lead the offense. But in the Spring, the quarterback competition got a dash of intrigue after former Davis quarterback Payton Webber transferred to Plainview.
“We got three good ones that could probably start anywhere else around here,” Plainview football coach Joe Price said. “Those guys are battling and it’s a neck and neck deal right now to me. They’re all doing a good job.”
Junior Brock Parham, a pure passer who showcased the ability to sling the ball all over the field throughout the tournament Friday as the varsity team’s primary passer, spent last season backing up Somerville and coming in for long down situations to throw deep.
Parham contributed throughout the year, but his most eye-popping game came against Dickson.
After Somerville was sidelined with an injury in the first quarter, Parham took the reigns and picked the Comets apart, completing 9 of 11 passes for 153 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 79 yards and two touchdowns on just three attempts to give Plainview a 58-6 victory.
“I can pass the ball, but what I think I really bring to the table for this team this season is leadership,” Parham said. “I’m not a great runner, but when I get back there, I command the huddle and that’s what I do best really.”
Unlike Somerville, whose raw speed and elusiveness made running the ball a primary and effective option for Plainview last season, Parham’s ability is best showcased in the pocket.
On Friday, a sneak peak at what Plainview’s attack would look like under Parham, albeit without a pass rush or pads, featured plenty of fireworks as the incumbent sat in the pocket and pushed the ball downfield to Plainview’s talented crop of weapons, particularly incoming junior Blake Nowell, who poses a matchup nightmare as a 6-foot-3 leaper with elite track speed — routinely burning safeties to pull the top off the defense.
“Brock does bring a different element, he’s more of a pocket passer,” Price said. “We’ll throw it a little bit more when he’s in there. But he’s a very effective runner — he makes good decisions in the run-pass option and he’s got good speed. He’s just not that thick of a body kid yet.”
Price said the 2018 football team will make adjustments to suit whoever claims the starting position come the fall.
“Every year you tailor to your skill set,” Price said. “Two of those quarterbacks (Parham and Sizemore) are more throwers. And then you throw Payton Webber in the mix, he’s a guy a lot like we’ve had the past few years, an athletic guy that can do a great job running the ball when we do the read game stuff.
“I foresee at least two of them getting on the field this year.”
Price said Sizemore also brings a lot of passing ability to his offense, but Webber brings a wrinkle that he said could give him options, especially around the goal line.
Last season in Davis, Webber also had his number called with the sophomore taking over the reigns for the Wolves week one, starting in place of injured senior quarterback Briston Summers. He led the Wolves to a 6-2 record. The losses came to eventual Class 3A playoff teams Heritage Hall and Sulphur.
Despite taking a backseat to Summers on Davis’ State semi-final run, Webber kept producing.
In the second round of the Class 2A playoffs against Holland Hall, Webber scored the eventual game-winning touchdown on an eight yard rush in overtime to help the Wolves advance. In the State Semifinals, Webber threw a 41-yard bomb that went for six points, tying the game up in the fourth quarter before the Warriors eventually pulled ahead.
Davis’ wishbone offense wasn’t necessarily pass-happy, to say the least. Webber’s passing production reflected that statistically completing 23 of 53 passes 453 yards for three touchdowns and two interceptions.
But Plainview coach Joe Price said regardless, the junior would factor into the team, whether it be making plays at quarterback, wildcat weapon or safety.
Before taking snaps at quarterback Webber played safety in the seven on seven tournament. In the Class 2A quarterfinals last season, Webber made several plays in the secondary, including a leaping interception and a few key deflections to help the Wolves seal the win against Holland Hall.
“Payton’s a guy who’s got a really good skill set, we expect him to play a lot on defense and offensively, if he doesn’t end up being the starter, we’re going to figure out a way to use him,” Price said. “Whether it’s goal line, special sets and the wildcat which in the past we’ve done and been really really good at.”
One Plainview player in particular who’s excited about next season and the potential scenario of catching passes from Parham, is fellow teammate on the basketball court Blake Nowell.
“We got a gunslinger back there,” Nowell said. “Brock’s got a great arm and we have great receivers this year, overall I think we’ll be able to throw the ball a little more.”
The two showed off their chemistry on Friday, something that’s been in the works for several years.
“We’ve always been real good friends — the chemistry on the field is like a friendship,” he said.
With gains in the passing attack, Nowell said he expects the running game to flourish and continue it’s success as thundering ball carriers like seniors Lane Ross, Tyson Al Jabour and junior speedster Jaxon Roney carry the majority of the load following CJ Jefferson and Somerville departing last year.
When asked about if he’s primed for a big year as a reciever, Nowell said his expectations are focused on the team’s success.
The expectations are high.
“I think as a team we’ll have a really big year,” he said. “I think we’ll have a great run at state this year.”