Two for one: Cole Poirrier, Slade Zeppuhar team up to fill QB role for St. Amant

4 weeks ago The Advocate 0

When the quarterback battle between Slade Zeppuhar and Cole Poirrier was dead even at the end the spring practice, St. Amant High football head coach David Oliver was not worried.

“I figured it would get sorted out over the summer or maybe even in fall camp,” Oliver said. “But you know, it never did.”

Oliver still is not worried. He likes having two quarterbacks instead of one. With two underclassmen splitting time under center, the Gators (5-2, 2-0) have won four straight games going. Up next is a District 5-5A rivalry game with second-ranked Catholic High (7-0, 2-0) at Memorial Stadium Friday.

“I really like winning and I’m willing to do whatever it takes to help the team win,” Poirrier said. “We are competitive in some ways. As a player, you always want to get better. We do push each other, but we also help each other.

“When Slade comes out of the game, I tell him the things I saw on the sideline and he does the same for me. We watch film together and help each other out.”

Oliver notes that a two-quarterback system isn’t really a new thing at St. Amant. Offensive assistant Seth Babin was part of a QB rotation when he played for the Gators more than a decade ago.

One strength of the Poirrier-Zeppuhar combination is their differences. Both are baseball players. Poirrier, a sophomore, stands 6-foot-2 and weighs 180 pounds. He also kicks and punts for SAHS in addition to playing quarterback.

Zeppuhar is a junior who stands 5-10 and weighs 160. Incredibly, he never played organized football until his freshman year because he focused on travel baseball.

“I started coming to summer workouts because I thought it would be good to lift weights,” Zeppuhar explained with a smile. “And when the coaches asked me what positioned I played, I told them quarterback.”

Through seven games, Poirrier and Zeppuhar have combined to pass for 1,441 yards and 14 touchdowns. Poirrier has completed 50 of 81 passes for 824 yards and seven TDs, while Zeppuhar is 48 of 72 for 617 yards and seven TDs. It is the first year of extensive varsity competition for both.

Oliver smiles and says opponents have started to scheme for the two quarterbacks, who rotate on each offensive series.

“There’s no secret about what we do,” Oliver said. “One plays the first series and then the other one goes in the next series. They alternate. Both these guys are good kids and each one brings something a little different to the table.”

Of course, having talent around the two quarterbacks does not hurt. Running back Reggie Sims has 550 rushing yards and 12 TDs. Sims is averaging 7.9 yards per carry. Austin Bascom and Javin Aguillard lead a talented Gator receiving corps. Bascom averages 14.7 yards a catch and has scored seven TDs. Aguillard has 15.9 yards per catch average with five TDs.

“Slade is so accurate on his throws,” Poirrier said. “He puts the ball right where it needs to be.”

When told Poirrier praised his accuracy, Zeppuhar responds, saying, “Accurate passes? That’s what Cole does.”

As a former college coach, Oliver knows St. Amant’s situation is unique. Some quarterback competitions morph into a negative situation that harms team chemistry. However, St. Amant’s combo QBs have fostered chemistry for a young team with 10 first-year starters.

“In a lot of places, it wouldn’t work,” Oliver said. “This is a credit to both kids and the families they come from. There’s no jealousy. They understand teamwork.”