This week’s recruiting lab will be focused on the quarterback that has the Quaker Valley Quakers feeling reinvigorated and ready to make a mid-season push into the WPIAL Playoffs, Ricky Guss. Guss is one of the top dual-threat QB’s in not only the WPIAL but the PIAA as a whole.
What I’ve found in studying this tape is Guss’ versatility as a runner as well as a thrower. Guss coming into this season found himself in an interesting situation. There was a last-minute coaching change at Quaker Valley, leaving what many thought, a football program in flux.
Guss had spent 3 years as a fullback and as a receiver while currently starting as the team’s middle linebacker. Though Guss has been an intricate element of this team for years now, this is his first season as the Quaker’s signal caller. It certainly looks like it’s paying off. The Quakers are 4-0 heading into Central Valley this Friday night.
Quaker Valley has tailored their offensive attack to Guss’ strength, which is running the football. Guss makes all the throws necessary within the offense, but looks most natural in open space carrying the football. That is certainly a credit to not only his athleticism but his capability overall as a football player. You can ask any college recruiter in the country, the path to advancing in football favors those dynamic enough to be versatile and flexible via positioning.
Follow me into the lab for a breakdown of a few key moments from last week’s comeback victory against Beaver.
I wanted to open up our film study with a play that shows right off the bat why Guss has become such a dangerous dual-threat QB. Quaker Valley shows a normal 2×2 look out of the Pistol. Guss obviously has the option to give or keep on this play. Guss shows the elongated “ride and decide” mesh – a common read option technique out of the pistol – eyes on the backside DE. He sees the DE crash, shows great patience on the ride, and pulls it to get around the corner for a nice pickup for the Quakers. QB’s who can legitimately establish themselves as a runner have historically been the prototype that wins WPIAL and PIAA championships.
Here in Play 2 we can see Guss down here in the redzone. QV has a trips set to the boundary – creating a 1 on 1 opportunity to the backside. Guss comes to the line, recognizes what looks like “3 match” coverage or man across the board with 2 shallow safeties. QV anticipates a man-pressure look and dials up the right call for it. The backside “X” has a hard slant across the corner’s face and the halfback has a swing route into the boundary. Guss sees the OLB come hard off the edge, the slant clears out the flat, and nobody runs with the halfback for a pitch and catch TD. Good example of taking what the defense is giving you.
QV again catches Beaver in a hard man look down here in the goaline area. What creativity from the QV play caller to anticipate the coverage – use jet motion to A. reveal that man coverage and B. make the DB travel across the formation – clearing out the flat for a hard slant into the back of the end zone. Well executed play to go along with a gutsy playcall. Guss and QV showing why as a defensive coordinator you can’t just gear up to stop the run down this tight, Guss can make you pay with his arm. The defensive personnel packages need thought over multiple times when creating a game plan to stop this QV offense.
This is just good fundamental QB play. Guss shows hard run action to the slot receiver coming in jet motion to catch an aggressive defense over pursuing a bit; he shows nice footwork and exceptional ball handling to sell the fake and roll a reverse pivot into a short rollout into the boundary to hit the halfback on a flare into the flat. This is a credit to Guss’ versatility as well as that offensive coaching staff at QV. This is about as natural as it can look – even for kids who have been playing the position for years.
Here’s the best example of the night of Guss taking over this game as a runner. Again we see the jet-action from the boundary that QV loves to use. Guss sells the give to the jet again – waits to get the LB’s taking a step the wrong direction and hammers this inside and puts his ability as a natural runner on display with his wherewithal to cut in and out of this defense for a huge chunk of yards as Quaker Valley was in the process of mounting a comeback.
Our final clip of the evening – and what a massive play it was in keeping the Quakers 4-0 and rolling. Guss has a trips set to the field, again looking to get a 1-on-1 look to the backside which he takes full advantage of. He sees the high safety lose depth on the bend route from the #3 Wr in the formation and decides to take that shot to the backside in man to man coverage. An excellent display of arm strength, intellect, and the ability to break a game wide open. Keep your eye open for Ricky Guss over the course of this year. I’m expecting the Quakers to do some serious damage come playoff time in 3A.